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Intersectionality and Elder Abuse

Elder abuse should never occur. Unfortunately, this type of abuse is not uncommon in California and throughout the United States. Studies indicate that approximately one out of every ten people over the age of 60 experience some form of elder abuse in this country, and this type of abuse can occur across a wide variety of demographics. However, we also know that elder abuse is more likely to happen to people of certain genders, gender identities, races, ethnicities, religions, and disabilities. When elder abuse intersects with other types of discrimination, we have something called intersectionality. Here, we want to discuss intersectionality as it relates to elder abuse, as this could play a role in any potential lawsuit related to these abuse cases.

What Is Intersectional Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse does not happen uniformly across gender, races, ethnicities, etc. Studies show a strong correlation between certain types of people and elder abuse. In these cases, elder abuse often directly intersects with other types of discrimination, hence the term “intersectional elder abuse.”

Perpetrators of elder abuse are usually those in some sort of position of power over the elderly person. This can include family members, friends, nursing home employees, in-home caregivers, etc. Just like there are some people in this country more likely to suffer from discrimination, elderly people are likely to suffer abuse due to the same type of discrimination.

Some forms of elder abuse are not based solely on a person’s age. Elderly abuse can also be based on a person’s:

  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Sexuality
  • Relationship status
  • Race
  • Color
  • Country of origin
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Other protected class

Intersectional elder abuse is abuse based on more than one protected class. When a person falls into the category of one or more protected class, they are much more likely to sustain this type of abhorrent abuse.

Elder Abuse Statistics

Data available from the National Council on Aging shows that approximately five million elderly Americans are abused each year. However, most researchers agree that these numbers are vastly under-reported. In fact, one study shows that only one out of every 24 cases of elder abuse actually gets reported to the appropriate authorities.

Unfortunately, there have not been a significant amount of resources devoted to studying elder abuse in the United States. Because of this, any data gleaned must be sorted through very carefully to draw conclusions about elder abuse. What we do know is this:

  • Elderly women are more likely to suffer from abuse than elderly men.
  • Those who come from a lower socioeconomic background are more likely to face elder abuse.
  • Any person who has been the victim of elderly abuse already is more likely to be victimized again.
  • Those in poor mental or physical health facing an increased risk of elderly abuse, particularly if they are in an assisted living facility.
  • Those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia are more likely to suffer from elder abuse.

Get Help from a California Elder Abuse Lawyer

If you or somebody you care about has been the victim of elder abuse, you need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. These cases can become incredibly complicated, and a thorough investigation must be conducted in order to determine what happened. An attorney will look at possible causes of the abuse and whether or not there is a correlation between the abuse victim’s protected class status and the abuse that occurred. It is crucial for victims in these cases to secure compensation for their losses.