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Title: The ‘hidden crime’ : subtle abuse of the elderly in a small island community (Gozo)
Authors: Farrugia, Miriam
Keywords: Older people -- Abuse of -- Malta -- Gozo
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: The main purpose of this dissertation is to identify the types of subtle elder abuse occurring in Gozo and subsequently to provide an understanding of the main factors leading to such an abusive behaviour. This study also aims at providing a holistic picture about the local situation in regards to subtle elder abuse by addressing main issues such as, identifying the settings in which subtle elder abuse is most likely to occur, understanding the main barriers for detection as well as identifying those most vulnerable to subtle elder abuse and also providing an understanding of the victimization process by applying criminological theories. Professionals working in the geriatric field but coming from different areas of expertise are the main participants contributing for this research. A qualitative method of research is adopted by using a semi-structured interview guide, consisting of open ended questions. The information gathered is analysed and discussed in three different thematic chapters, namely the types of subtle elder abuse occurring in Gozo, the risk factors associated with subtle elder abuse and criminological theories explaining elder subtle abuse respectively. Results indicate that most subtle elder abuse takes place on an individual level, in the privacy of the household and takes the form of financial abuse, physical neglect and isolation, as well as psychological abuse in the form of both covert and overt methods. Negative feelings, such as shame, fear of retaliation and stigma impede victims from reporting to authorities and therefore act as barriers for elder abuse detection. Individual risk factors such as cognitive and physical impairments as well as self neglect, self isolation and the individual difficult character act as triggering factors for elder subtle abuse. The application of strain theory identifies the lack of social support experienced by informal carers which could lead to the perpetration of subtle elder abuse. On the other hand, Routine Activity theory is used to explain the maladaptive dynamics by which subtle elder abuse can occur in local institutions.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacSoW - 2014
Dissertations - FacSoWCri - 2014

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