Violence Against The Elderly: A Cross Cultural Perspective

2262 words - 9 pages

According to the Ontario Provincial Police, elder abuse is defined as “Any action or inaction by any person which causes harm or threatens to cause harm to an older adult”. As of 2004, the General Social Survey (GSS) showed that seniors were three times less likely than non-seniors to experience victimization in the 12 months preceding the survey and 10% of seniors experienced at least one victimization in the 12 months preceding the survey. This shows that violence against the elderly has always been present in any society and its rate is now just starting to increase. It is a topic that has been usually kept in the dark and it is only now that citizens from around the world are beginning to realize that it is in fact a form of family violence and that it is not acceptable under any circumstances. The fact that this happens is because senior citizens become defenseless and they become dependent on someone, usually their family members.
Rates of elder abuse are not what they were 10 years ago; they have increased, and the rates at which these abuses occur are from 2 % to 10 %. (Lachs, Mark S., & Karl Pillemer. 2004. "Elder Abuse, “The Lancet, Vol. 364: 1192-1263.). Violence against seniors varies from culture to culture and though it happens everywhere in the world, regardless of their background, not many people knew it was happening, especially when the victims themselves keep quiet due to fear. Elderly abuse somewhat differs within cultures but nonetheless it is still unacceptable. According to the Canadian Centre for Justice, the most common form of abuse against the elderly population in Canada is emotional abuse, which is followed by financial abuse (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, 2001b). Yet, other documents have said that financial abuse is probably the most widespread one. (McDonald and Collins, 2000)
Some types of elder abuse include spouse abuse, abuse by family members, institutional abuse and physical abuse among others. Physical abuse, though not as common as mental abuse, is still one of the most serious cases of elder abuse. Striking, pushing and beating are just some of the examples of physical abuse. These are mostly committed by people close to the victims, such as family members or caregivers in institutions. Sometimes is might be caused by someone who’s under the influence of alcohol or drugs or someone who is stressed. Especially if the seniors are dependents, they think that it is alright for them to experience this.
Though the victims of physical abuse have bruises or injuries, it cannot be proven that these have been caused by infliction of abuse but some hints could give it away. For example, if a victim has signs of cigarette burns on their skin or bruises to parts of their body that cannot be self-inflicted, then one can know if these elders have been physically abused. Also failures to immediately seek medical help, going to different medical facilities or when victims and abusers have...

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