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NCJ Number: 201173 Find in a Library
Title: Perceptions About the Criminalization of Elder Abuse Among Police Chiefs and Ombudsmen
Journal: Crime & Delinquency  Volume:49  Issue:3  Dated:July 2003  Pages:439-459
Author(s): Brian K. Payne; Bruce L. Berg
Editor(s): Ronald E. Vogel
Date Published: July 2003
Page Count: 21
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined whether police and ombudsmen varied regarding their perceptions regarding the seriousness of elder abuse incidents and the role of criminal penalties in responding to elder abuse.
Abstract: The 1990's saw the criminalization of elder abuse which entailed the creation of mandatory reporting legislation, increased penalties for elder abusers, and modifications in criminal procedures for older victims. What happens in the area of political or legal changes in the criminalization of elder abuse influences how police, health professionals, long-term nursing care administrators, ombudsmen, and others adapt and integrate with one another at a systems-level. Little research has considered how these groups respond to elder abuse and whether they support the criminalization of elder abuse or see it as an important crime problem at all. Understanding their views will be a step toward understanding whether criminalization policies can be effectively implemented. This study considered the sanctions recommended by police chiefs and ombudsmen for six different types of offenses against seniors (patient abuse, patient theft, patient neglect, furnace repair fraud, Medicaid fraud, and robbery) utilizing six scenarios. Respondents were surveyed from four States, California, Colorado, Alabama, and New York. In all, 119 chiefs and 203 ombudsmen returned usable surveys. Results suggest that police chiefs and ombudsmen have similar, yet distinct views about elder abuse. The groups were similar in that they were prepared to punish elder abusers with varied modes of punishment. Members of both groups seemed to support the notion of criminalizing elder abuse cases and ranked physical abuse as more serious than patient theft. The results suggest that the actors support criminalization and the need for more training. However, they did not support a steadfast punitive approach to elder abuse. In conclusion, the two groups see elder abuse as a problem, and they recognize the need to support better training and increases in understanding this problem. References
Main Term(s): Elder Abuse
Index Term(s): Crimes against the elderly; Elderly victims; Institutional elder abuse; Mandatory crime reporting; Older Adults (65+); Police attitudes; Police chiefs; Police management; Police personnel; Police training; Police training attitudes
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