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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 82068 Find in a Library
Title: Crime and the Elderly - The Emergence of a Policy Issue (From Reactions to Crime, P 123-147, 1981, Dan A Lewis, ed. - See NCJ-82062)
Author(s): F L Cook
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 25
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A newly developed model of agenda setting is used to explain the rise of the policy issue of crimes against the elderly, and four factors influencing the emergence of this issue are identified.
Abstract: In 1976 and 1977, crime against the elderly emerged as an important nationwide policy issue, as manifested in the number of legislative hearings, legislative proposals, published documents, and LEAA awards. A newly developed model to explain the emergence of this policy issue is called a convergent voice model, which describes issues that seem to be independently and similarly articulated by several different groups at the same time. In the case of criminal victimization of the elderly, the 1971 White House Conference on Aging, Hearings of the House Select Committee on Aging, and the news media all focused attention on the victimization of the elderly in 1971, and all seem to have operated independently. The issue was then legitimized through social science data, media attention, discussion by high officials, and endorsement by appropriate interest groups. One factor influencing the emergence of this issue was its eliciting of strong positive responses from all who heard of the problem, without opposition. Secondly, the issue combined other issues already high on the U.S. policy agenda. Thirdly, because it had no opponent, a politician could speak out on the issue and support relevant programs without jeopardizing his popularity among other groups. Fourthly, the issue was independently and similarly articulated by several different groups simultaneously, thus helping to direct attention to the issue. Although the aforementioned four factors helped to place the issue on the policy agenda, they were not sufficient to maintain the issue over the long term. Lacking were a continued belief in the importance of the problem, an active policy community interested in ameliorating the problem, and continuing bureaucratic involvement. A total of 62 references and 3 notes are provided.
Index Term(s): Crimes against the elderly; Policy; Political influences
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