In the United States, the term Older Adults refers to a broad-ranging group of individuals from multiple different generations including parents, grandparents, and even great-grandparents. Because Older Adults are often dependent on others for care and support, they can also be more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. As the population of Older Adults continues to grow, so will the instances of sexual violence and abuse perpetrated against them. Older adults may be targeted by spouses or partners in heterosexual, gay, or lesbian relationships. They may also be targeted by adult children or other family members responsible for their care, caregivers, or any person in a position of authority.
In Maine alone, over 33,000 elders are abused each year1.Although each year the number of reported incidents of abuse against Older Adults grows, approximately 84% of elder abuse incidents are not reported2. Abuse in later life is such an underreported crime for a variety of reasons:
- Survivors may be afraid of reporting a family member, losing the assistance of the caregiver, losing independence, or losing their home.
- Survivors may feel guilty or ashamed of the abuse
- Survivors may feel that no one will believe them
- Survivors may be worried that they will be put in an institution if they tell
At SASSMM, we understand that Older Adults have rich histories and, often times, painful pasts. Whether you are currently in a situation of abuse or would like to speak to someone about a past experience, SASSMM is available for support and resources. If you are an Older Adult who has experienced abuse in his or her lifetime and would like to talk to somebody more about your experience, please call our Support Line at 1-800-822-5999.
1 National Center on Elder Abuse, (2004) Fact Sheet (citing The National Elder Abuse Incidence Study, Final Report, September 1998).
2 Office of Justice Programs. (2011). Elder abuse and mistreatement. Retrieved from http://ojp.gov/newsroom/factsheets/ojpfs_elderabuse.html
The Maine Council for Elder Abuse Prevention (MCEAP) supports collaborative efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. MCEAP promotes a unifying vision which addresses elder abuse, and drives this vision by advocating for public policy, supporting collaboration between existing resources, and facilitating cross-disciplinary communication.
These Guidelines are an updated and expanded version of Employer Screening Guidelinescreated through Project Advance, a project of Sexual Assault Services of Midcoast Maine in 2007.
Through advocacy and education, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) works everyday to improve victim safety, increase abuser accountability, expand coordinated community response, and ultimately, put an end to abuse in later life.
National Center on Elder Abuse
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) serves as a national resource center dedicated to the prevention of elder mistreatment.