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Elder Abuse Statistics

Elder abuse continues to be a nationwide issue for adults 60 and over. Below are the latest statistics.

Top 3 Statistics on Elder Abuse 

  • 1 in 10 older people have experienced some form of elder abuse, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse.
  • 2 in 3 staff members in care facilities say they have committed abuse in the past year, according to the World Health Organization.
  • Only 1 in 24 cases of elder abuse is reported to authorities, according to the World Health Organization.

Types of Abuse 

According to Data and Research from the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System “Adult Maltreatment Report 2019.”

  • Physical Abuse -The use of physical force to cause pain, injury, impairment, or death.
  • Sexual Abuse -non-consensual sexual interaction of any kind with a person.
  • Emotional Abuse -Verbal behaviors that inflict anguish, mental pain, fear, or distress on a person.
  • Financial Abuse-Illegal use of an individual’s funds, property, or assets.
  • Neglect -The failure to meet an individual’s basic needs.
  • Self- Neglect- A person’s inability to perform essential self-care tasks due to physical or mental impairment or diminished capacity.
  • Abandonment- The desertion of a person by an individual who has assumed responsibility for caring for that person.
  • Exploitation-Illegal use of an individual’s funds, property, or assets for another’s profit or advantage.

Abuse by Gender

  • Women are more likely than men to be victims of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, according to data submitted by 31 states.
  • Female: Physical Abuse (63.7%), Emotional Abuse (71.1%), Sexual Abuse (78.7%)
  • Male: Physical Abuse (35.1%), Emotional Abuse (27.7%), Sexual abuse (20.1%)

Abuse by Age

  • Abandonment and sexual abuse victims are younger, while victims of exploitation are older.

According to Data and Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Abuse by Age

  • 1 in 10 people over 60 years old who live at home experienced abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
  • From 2002 to 2016, over 600,000 seniors were treated in the emergency department for nonfatal assaults, and more than 19,000 homicides occurred.

Abuse by Gender

  • Men had a higher rate of nonfatal assaults and homicides from 2002 to 2016 than women.
  • Nonfatal assaults increased more than 75% among men.
  • Nonfatal assaults increased more than 35% among women.
  • The estimated homicide rate for men increased to 7% from 2010 to 2016

Who are the Perpetrators of Elder Abuse?

According to Data and Research from the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System “Adult Maltreatment Report 2019.”

Perpetrator Gender

  • There were more female than male perpetrators, according to gender data submitted for 47,003 perpetrators.
  • 41.5% of perpetrators are women
  • 36.8% of perpetrators are men
  • 21.6% unknown

Perpetrator Age

  • The age range peaked between 40 to 59 years old, according to data submitted by 23 states.

Relationship

  • A third of the perpetrators (33.15%) had no relationship with the victim, based on data submitted by 26 states.

According to Research and Data from the National Center on Elder Abuse

Characteristics of a Perpetrator

  • The average age is 45 years old.
  • 77% of perpetrators were found to be caucasian.
  • 38% of perpetrators had not completed high school.
  • 44% of perpetrators did complete high school.
  • 70% of perpetrators were unmarried at the time of the crime.
  •  Almost half of the perpetrators reported a history of early childhood violence.
  • 20% to 50% of perpetrators reported substance misuse.
  • 25% to 35% of perpetrators reported having a serve mental illness.
  • Between 25% and 46% of perpetrators had a criminal record.

Perpetrators by Abuse

  • A partner/spouse often committed psychological and physical abuse.
  • In most neglect incidents, the perpetrators were adult children.
  • Family members, care workers, were more likely to be perpetrators of financial abuse than partners.

Who is Vulnerable to Elder Abuse?

According to Data and Research from the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System “Adult Maltreatment Report 2019.”

Key Terms from the Report:

  • Client- is someone who has received an investigation regarding a report of alleged maltreatment.
  • Victim- is someone who has received an investigation regarding a report of alleged maltreatment, and with one or more, the allegations are substantiated.

Victims by Age

  • 70% of APS clients and victims were over 60 years and older.

APS Clients by Race

Note: The report states APS programs do no report race data as consistently as gender.

  • 56.3% of White APS Clients
  • 12.6% of African American/Black APS Clients
  • 9.9% Other
  • 0.8% of Asian APS Clients
  • 0.9% Native American APS Clients
  • 19.9% unknown

Data submitted by 31 states for 430,1664 APS Clients

Victims by Race

  • 57.2% of White Victims
  • 12.4% of African American/Black Victims
  • 4.0% Other
  • 1.5% of Asian Victims
  • 0.2% of Hawaiian Victims
  • 1.4% of Pacific Islander Victims
  • 0.5% of Alaskan Native Victims
  • 23.3% Unknown

Data submitted by 42 states for 219,564 Victims.

APS Clients by Ethnicity

Note: The report states APS programs do no report ethnicity data as consistently as gender.

  • 8.9% of Hispanic APS Clients
  • 49.9% of Not Hispanic APS Clients
  • 41.2% Unknown

Data submitted by 27 states for 399,521 APS Clients.

Victims by Ethnicity

  • 46.3% of Not Hispanic Victims
  • 12.7% of Hispanic Victims
  • 41.0% Unknown

Data submitted by 39 states for 222,536 Victims.

Disability

  • The most common type of disability for Victims is Ambulatory Difficulties.
  • The most common type of disability for APS clients is Cognitive Impairment.

Key Terms from the Report:

  • Ambulatory Difficulty- an individual who struggles with walking or climbing stairs.
  • Cognitive Difficulty- an individual who struggles with remembering, concentrating, or making decisions.

Reports of Elder Abuse

According to Data and Research from the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System “Adult Maltreatment Report 2019.”

Reports

  • APS programs received more than 1.33 reports and accepted 62.3% for investigation in 2019.

Reports Submitted by

  • 63.7% Reported by Professionals
  • 10.8% Reported by Family Members
  • 4.0% self-reports
  • 21.8% Other

Allegation Type

  • 51.% Self-Neglect
  • 24.0% Neglect
  • 23.8% Exploitation
  • 12.6% Physical Abuse
  • 1.6% Sexual Abuse

Investigations Completed by APS Programs

  • Completed 793,592 Investigations
  • 801,491 of APS clients
  • 259,782 of Victims

How Do I Report Elder Abuse?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to report suspected abuse to your local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman, or the police.  

The department suggests contacting a doctor, friend, family member or calling the Elder Locator helpline for victims reporting abuse.

Call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAD) is recognized every year on June 15.

WEAD was launched in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization.

The initiative aims for communities worldwide to promote a better understanding of the abuse of older people by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting them.

 

 

Sources/Credit: 

  1. “Elder Abuse,” World Health Organization (World Health Organization), accessed June 25, 2021, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/elder-abuse.
  2. “Adult Maltreatment Reports,” NAMRS, accessed June 25, 2021, https://namrs.acl.gov/Learning-Resources/Adult-Maltreatment-Reports/2019-Adult-Maltreatment-Report.aspx.
  3. “Research Statistics and Data,” NCEA, accessed June 25, 2021, https://ncea.acl.gov/What-We-Do/Research/Statistics-and-Data.aspx.
  4. Digital Communications Division (DCD), “How Do I Report Elder Abuse or Abuse of an Older Person or Senior?,” HHS.gov, December 7, 2017, https://www.hhs.gov/answers/programs-for-families-and-children/how-do-i-report-elder-abuse/index.html.
  5. https://ncea.acl.gov/WEAAD.aspx