Academic journal article International Journal of Men's Health

Male Victims of Elder Abuse: Their Experiences and Needs

Academic journal article International Journal of Men's Health

Male Victims of Elder Abuse: Their Experiences and Needs

Article excerpt

by Jacki Pritchard.Violence and Abuse Series, London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley, 2001.

This short (112 pages) and easy-to-read book focuses on abused older men, a problem generally neglected by researchers, educators, and practitioners. The purpose of the book is to give attention to the problems of older men in abusive situations so that those in helping capacities may better understand these men and the help that they need.

There are seven chapters to this book. Chapter 1, "Men -- Victims of Abuse," provides a brief overview of the limited material on male victims of elder abuse (such as battered husbands). The material in this book is based upon qualitative data from a self-selected sample of 12 who were a part of an earlier study of abuse in social service departments in three English towns between 1997 and 1999. The chapter presents a discussion of the methodology used in the initial study. Definitions of abuse are somewhat limited and generated not by the author but rather by members of the Department of Health.

Chapter 2 summarizes the quantitative findings on abuse from a larger antecedent effort (that had resulted in a book on the abuse of older women), upon which the book on abused older men is based. This earlier study identified 171 vulnerable older persons; 132 were identified as abused (including 39 men). The characteristics of the men are described: all were white, one-third lived in residential facilities, one-fifth lived alone, and about half lived with the abuser. The chapter summarizes the characteristics of the abusers and the types of abuse.

The third chapter reports on the in-depth interviews with the 12 abused men and provides information on their lives, history of their abuse, perceptions of their abuse, and the help they received. Chapter 4 describes the men's physical and mental health problems, contacts with professionals, and consequences following the discovery of abuse. The use of case vignettes effectively illustrates the discussion of the men's reactions to their abuse. The author identifies negligence in follow-through by some professionals working with the elderly men as a problem and describes her efforts in creating a milieu within focus groups for the men to articulate feelings about their experiences. This interesting chapter also discusses the consequences of the men's losses and bereavement as well as their desire for companionship. …

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