New York Office of Children and Family Services
May 1, 2011
In this study, three community, governmental, and academic partners collaborated to quantify the prevalence of elder abuse in the state of New York. This report discusses the prevalence of elder abuse in New York, the underreporting of elder abuse, and the most common circumstances that surround it. The data was collected from both older respondents and agencies that serve victims of elder abuse. Significantly, the study found that elder abuse is around 24 times greater than those reported cases to social service, law enforcement or legal authorities (p. 2).
This study evaluates the prevalence of elder abuse in New York. It was funded by the New York State William B. Hoyt Memorial Children and Family Trust Fund NYS Office of Children and Family Services in partnership with Lifespan of Greater Rochester, the New York City Department for the Aging and the Weill Cornell Medical College. The study’s goal is to determine the extent of underreporting of elder abuse statewide by quantifying and comparing the estimate of such instances to the number of reported cases. This project is the largest effort in any single American state to study the prevalence of elder abuse.
This study consists of two methodological components: a self-reported prevalence study and a documented case study. The self-reported study consisted of interviewing by telephone a randomly selected sample of seniors over the age of 60. This sample did not include individuals living in licensed facilities such as nursing homes. The documented case study surveyed agencies working with victims of elder abuse. Programs surveyed included Adult Protective Services, law enforcement, and area agencies on aging, domestic violence programs, elder abuse programs, programs funded by the Office of Victim Services (previously known as the Crime Victims Board), elder abuse coalitions, and District Attorney (DA) offices. In total, the researchers conducted 4196 individual interviews and surveyed 292 surveyed agencies from each of the 62 counties in New York.
It found that the rate of elder abuse is approximately 24 times greater than reported cases to agencies that support those victims. Psychological abuse was the main reported concern in the documented case study. In the self-reported sample, the researchers report that financial exploitation was the main reported concern. In total, the study estimated that 260,000 older New Yorkers have experienced at least one form of abuse between 2008 and 2009.
Some highlights from the study include:
- “The gender breakdown for those victims whose gender was reported by respondent agency/programs was: 32.8% male and 67.2% female” (p. 40).
- “Of those agencies that could give this information, over one-third (39.4%) of the victims lived with their abusers” (p. 41).
- “The Self-Reported Elder Abuse component of the study found an overall prevalence rate of 141.2 per 1,000 and an incidence rate of 76 per 1,000 among older adult respondents across all sectors of the state” (p. 54).
- “The most marked divergence in reported abuse was between urban areas and rural, a difference of 15 to 17 cases per thousand in non-financial and financial cases respectively” (p. 54).
Geographic coverage, US: New York
Case type: Family
Practice Area: Domestic Violence, Family
Who Served: Seniors, Victims of Crime
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