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Results From an Elder Abuse Prevention Experiment in New York City, Research in Brief

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2001
7 pages
Publication Series
This brief reports results from an elder abuse prevention experiment in New York City.
The document reports on a field experiment of an intervention to reduce repeat incidents of elder abuse. Randomly selected public housing projects in New York City received educational material about elder abuse, while others did not. Some households that reported elder abuse to the police were selected by lottery to receive a follow-up home visit from a police officer and a domestic violence counselor. Data on post-report abuse were collected at 6 and 12 months after the initial report to the police. Key findings included the following: (1) the interventions were difficult to implement, and showed no measurable effects on victims' knowledge of elder abuse issues or of social services; (2) nonetheless, households that received home visits and were in projects that received public education called the police significantly more often, and reported significantly higher levels of physical abuse to research interviewers than did control households; and (3) households that received home visits but did not receive public education also called the police significantly more often than did control households, but they did not report more abuse to interviewers. The increased calls to police were found 6 months after the trigger incident but disappeared by 12 months. In an attempt to explain these unexpected findings, the document suggests that the combined interventions incited abusers rather than deterring them. It also suggests that additional research into elder abuse should include interviews with abusers as well as with victims. Figures, notes

Date Published: September 1, 2001