As of 2010, 13% of the United States population was 65 years of age or older (National Center on Elder Abuse, 2014). Men and women today are living longer and want to remain in their own homes as long as they possibly can, rather than reside in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. In order for these men and women to remain at home, they need support and resources, as there are a number of different types of abuse against elderly men and women. These types of abuse including physical abuse, verbal/emotional abuse, financial exploitation, and even the rare occasion of sexual abuse that occurs at home. This paper will discuss the issue of elder sexual abuse within one’s own home and from one’s own family member. Routine Activity Theory will be used to discuss the conditions that exist in order for elder sexual abuse to occur, and what society as a whole can do to recognize and prevent abuse.
Forms of Elder Sexual Abuse:
Sexual abuse against elderly men and women is categorized into two forms: hands on (contact offenses) and hands-off (non-contact offenses) (Ramsey-Klawsnik, 1995). Hands-on offenders include those offenses where the offender makes physical contact with the elder. Hands-on offenses can include anything from touch, foundling and kissing to oral, anal, and harmful genital practices (Ramsey-Klawsnik, 1995). These offenses can have severe physical injury to an elder. Common injuries include damage to an elders genitals or rectal area as well as sexual transmitted diseases (Teitelman, Copollio, 2002). Hands-off offenses are often less obvious to recognize include sexual harassment, threats of sexual violence, sexual jokes, forced viewing of pornography or exposure to ones private parts (Ramsey-Klawsnik...
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Ramsey-Klawsnik, H (2000). Elder abuse offenders: A typology. Generations. 24 (2).
Roberto, A., K & Teaster, B., P. (2005). Sexual abuse of vulnerable young and old women. A comparative analysis of circumstances and outcomes. Violence Against Women, 11. 473.
Teitelman, J., & Copollio, A. (2002). Sexual abuse among persons with Alzheimer’s disease: guidelines for recognition and intervention. Alzheimer’s Care Quarterly, 3 (3). 252-257.
Teitelman, J (2006). Sexual abuse of elder adults- appropriate responses for health and human services. Journal of Health and Human Services Administrations, 19. 209-227.
The 188th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (2014). General Laws: Department of Elder Affairs- Chapter 19A, Sections 14-26. Retrieved from https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleII/Chapter19A/
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