Domestic Abuse and the Elderly

Domestic abuse takes many different forms. Abusers commonly employ a variety of tactics, both physical and psychological, to exert their control over their victims. While help is available for those suffering from domestic abuse, many never seek help or even report the crimes committed against them. Unfortunately, seniors in America are frequently the victims of many forms of domestic violence and abuse, and many of them suffer in silence. Only one out of every 24 cases of domestic abuse against seniors is ever reported. What is elder abuse, and why is preventing it so important?

Types of Domestic Abuse against the Elderly

Domestic abuse against the elderly can be sexual, emotional, physical, or financial abuse. Abusers are typically someone the senior trusts, such as a spouse, a child, grandchild, family member, intimate partner, or caregiver. Seniors that require care are at an increased risk. The abuse and violence can take many forms.

Physical Abuse

This type of abuse involves some type of physical violence such as injury or assault. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) signs of physical abuse against elders include:

  • Bruises, broken bones, fractures, and dislocations;
  • Marks from restraints;
  • Burns (commonly from cigarettes or hot water);
  • Increased hospital visits; and
  • Explanations of injuries that do not make sense.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse against elders involves some type of sexual contact that is non-consensual. This category includes forced intercourse, spoken sexual abuse, and inappropriate touching.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse against seniors often involves control. Abusers commonly limit the senior’s behaviors, such as not allowing them to make phone calls or limiting their transportation. Emotional abuse also includes damaging property, isolating the senior, and embarrassing or humiliating them.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is another serious form of domestic abuse against elders. In 2011, senior victims of financial abuse lost a collective $2.9 billion, and the problem continues today. Financial abuse against the elderly includes stealing the seniors assets, tricking the victim into transferring finances or property to the abuser, and fraud.

Why Does Senior Domestic Abuse Matter?

Domestic abuse against seniors is damaging in a variety of ways. Senior victims may lose their financial stability, their independence, and their dignity. Violence against seniors can lead to serious issues and potentially cause death. Studies also indicate that senior victims of domestic abuse have shorter lifespans than their counterparts who are not abused. Additionally, abused seniors often exhibit depression, stress, fear, and anxiety.

Help Is Available

Help is available for any victim of domestic violence and abuse, no matter their age. At Abear Law Offices, we provide support for any victim of domestic violence. We can help you or your loved one reach safety immediately, and will pursue legal actions to ensure the abuse stops permanently. Call 630-904-3033 to speak with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney to review your options immediately. Do not suffer in silence. Our attorneys will fight to ensure your safety.