Using a stratified sample of Chicago's elderly population, this study examined if and how risk factors and protective behaviors influence the course of elder abuse over time, the prevalence rates for various types of abuse, and the police role in intervening in cases of elder abuse and neglect.
The examination of the course of abuse found that victims from the police sample (elderly victims who had been visited by trained domestic violence/senior citizen victimization officers in the Chicago Police Department) were more likely to have at least one incident of subsequent abuse compared to those from the community sample (elderly victims who experienced no police intervention); however, for those in the police sample, the number of forms of abuse that occurred repeatedly decreased. In addition, those in the police sample were more likely to have engaged in protective behaviors or service seeking than those in the community sample. These findings suggest that intervention by officers trained to assist elder abuse victims can lead to increased engagement in protective behaviors and ultimately reduction in the number of frequently occurring forms of abuse. The sample consisted of 1,795 elderly residents for whom researchers could identify victimization status. In-depth interviews were conducted with 328 elderly residents from three sample groups: 159 community nonvictims, 121 community victims, and 48 victims who received police intervention. All participants were current residents of Chicago, ages 60 and over. Researchers conducted phone interviews with a survey instrument designed to assess victimization. The survey included questions about various characteristics and risk factors associated with both victims and perpetrators of abuse and/or neglect, specific types of abuse, and victims' protective behaviors. Victimization was examined twice over a 10-month period in order to assess the course of abuse over time. The effects of police intervention were also examined. 31 tables, 61 references, and appended study instruments
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