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Statewide Profile of Abuse of Older Women and the Criminal Justice Response: Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2008
93 pages
This federally funded research project examines Rhode Island’s population of all women 50 and over who were victims of domestic violence reported to law enforcement over an entire year, offering a more complete profile of older women abuse, their abusers, the abuse, and the response of State authorities to their reported abuse.
Highlights of the results include: (1) elder women were more likely to be abused by non-intimate family members than intimate partners; (2) the likelihood of victim cooperation was not associated with age; in fact, in terms of calling police and cooperating with them, the older and elder victims did not differ from younger victims; (3) the criminal justice system’s response to older and elder abuse was not affected by victim age; (4) a little more than 20 percent of study victims were revictimized during the study period; (5) victims having obtained prior protective orders and the suspect being charged with violation of protective orders proved to be significant risk factors for revictimization; and (6) the State’s response did not have any significant impact on revictimization or suspects likelihood of being charged with new domestic violence. Research on the extent and nature of elder abuse has been limited. Most research on domestic violence victims concentrates on younger victims who constitute the vast majority of domestic violence victims. Researchers of this project funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice examined every domestic violence report made to State and local law enforcement across the State of Rhode Island in 2002 involving women victims 50 and older. The intent was to provide a more complete picture of older women abuse and the response by State authorities to their reported abuse. Researchers wanted to know who was being abused, by whom, how, and what was the criminal justice response, as well as which victims and suspects would be involved in subsequent domestic violence. Exhibits, case studies, references, and appendix

Date Published: March 1, 2008