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NCJ Number: 190952 Find in a Library
Title: Understanding and Responding to Crime and Older People
Author(s): Marianne James
Date Published: June 2001
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,
Document: PDF
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This paper examines the nature, causes, and ways of countering crimes against the elderly in Australia, as well as the elderly's fear of crime.
Abstract: When examining and responding to crime against older people, there are three issues that must be addressed: crime and abuse, fear of crime, and "inter-sectoral" responses. the first of these issues, crime and abuse, involves personal crime, crime that stems from the dependence of the elderly on others for their care, and economic crime. The broad pattern of victimization for personal crime (homicide, assault, robbery, and burglary) in Australia is consistent with findings throughout Western countries, i.e., older people are less likely to be victims of such crime than other age groups. On the other hand, when older people require support and assistance from families or professional service providers because of frailty and dependence, their vulnerability to victimization increases. An Australian study (Kurrie, Sadler, and Cameron, 1992) estimated that 4.6 percent of older people are victims of physical, sexual, or financial abuse perpetrated mostly by family members and those who are in a duty-of-care relationship with the victim. The term "economic crime" encompasses financial mismanagement, fraud, and enduring power-of-attorney and guardianship issues. There are five levels of fear of crime that require different responses: apathy, apprehension, alarm, torment, and terror. In addressing crime against the elderly, as well as the fear of crime, there must be a uniformity of response that can only be achieved through "inter-sectoral" cooperation. This should involve social service departments, health services, local government, housing departments, the police, the courts, senior citizen organizations, recreational and educational institutions, and voluntary organizations. Appropriate intervention and partnership depends on three components that relate to vulnerability: the actual risks of crime, the impact of crime on the victim, and the consequences of fear for both the victim and the community as a whole.
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Crime in foreign countries; Crimes against the elderly; Elder Abuse; Fear of crime
Note: Paper presented at the 4th National Outlook Symposium on Crime in Australia, "New Crimes or New Responses," held in Canberra, June 21-22, 2001; downloaded October 8, 2001.
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