Cover image for Crime, abuse and the elderly
Crime, abuse and the elderly
Brogden, Michael.
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Publication Information:
Devon : Willan, 2000.
Physical Description:
vii, 191 pages ; 24 cm
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HV6626.3 .B754 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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This book examines and analyses the experiences of older people as both victims and perpetrators of crime. Drawing upon a wealth of research from British and North American sources, the authors detail the historical experience of the elderly as victims, the extent of present-day criminal victimisation in the home and institutions, the social theories which attempt to explain that experience, and the types of resolution available.

The book also addresses the experiences of elderly people in the criminal justice process - the offences to which they are prone, and the implications for penal policy of an increase in the elderly penal population.

Crime, Abuse and the Elderly breaks new ground in its focus on the experiences of elderly people as criminal victims in private space, its insistence on a proper engagement of criminology with crimes involving older people, and in its argument that much so-called abuse can be explained criminologically and should be dealt with by the criminal justice system rather than by treatment and welfare agencies. It will be essential reading for students, academics and professionals concerned with the experiences of the elderly.

Author Notes

Mike Brogden is an Honorary Professor at the Department of Applied Social Science, University of Lancaster, UK.

Preeti Nijhar is a Lecturer in Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Bangor, UK.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Employing a sociological perspective, this book presents historical, theoretical, and empirical conceptualizations and approaches to elderly victimization and crime. Throughout the book, the authors attempt to dispel the myths and stereotypes surrounding elder abuse and victimization, particularly with respect to family violence. The chapters addressing mythologies of victimization, stereotypes of elderly victims, and victimization in public and private spaces are all highly informative regarding past and present theories of elder victimization. Chapters 7 and 8 present macro- and microsociological explanations for understanding victimization, providing a detailed treatment of the complexity of factors associated with both public and private victimization. In contrast, the concluding chapters dealing with elderly criminals and the justice system are not particularly informative or effective. Overall, the book achieves its goal of dispelling myths and stereotypes and expanding the focus of criminology to give serious attention to elder victimization and the rights of elders. Graduate students and faculty. N. W. Sheehan; University of Connecticut

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
From Lizzie Borden to Dr. Shipmanp. 1
Demography and the criminological agendap. 4
Private space and public spacep. 5
Determinism versus free willp. 5
General readingp. 6
1 Abuse Versus Crime in Criminological Historyp. 7
The exclusion of criminologyp. 7
Welfare versus justice responses to elder victimisationp. 14
Following child and spouse abusep. 17
Further readingp. 22
2 The Mythologies of Elderly Victimisationp. 24
Introductionp. 24
The Golden Age myth--the modernisation thesisp. 25
The Golden Isles myth--neglect and abuse in comparative perspectivep. 32
Further readingp. 36
3 Stereotyping the Elderly as Victimsp. 37
Introductionp. 37
Ideologies--ageism, sexism, and the mythology of the elder victimp. 37
Needs-based definitionsp. 40
Rights-based definitionsp. 43
Synopsis of Chapters 2 and 3p. 46
Further readingp. 47
4 Victimisation in Private and Public Spacep. 48
Introductionp. 48
Victimisation in private spacep. 48
Victimisation in public spacep. 56
Further readingp. 61
5 Old People and the Fear of Crimep. 62
Introductionp. 62
The problem of fearp. 62
Criticisms of the fear thesisp. 66
Synopsis of Chapters 4 and 5p. 74
Further readingp. 75
6 Victimisation in Private Space--the Household and Care Institutionsp. 76
Introductionp. 76
Victimisation in the private space of the householdp. 77
External pressuresp. 82
Victimisation in care and nursing institutionsp. 85
The victim fights back--strategies of resistancep. 91
Synopsis of Chapter 6p. 93
Further readingp. 93
7 Sociological Explanations I: Gender and the Political Economy of Older Peoplep. 95
Introductionp. 95
What's wrong with the abuse explanationsp. 96
Feminist criminology and elder abusep. 99
Elder victimisation--contributions from political economyp. 102
Further readingp. 112
8 Sociological Explanations II: Organisation, Power, Neutralisation, and Labellingp. 113
Introduction--from context to contentp. 113
Exchange and power in organisational conflictsp. 113
Stratification, moral holidays, and strain theoryp. 116
Labelling and social constructionismp. 119
Synopsis of Chapters 7 and 8p. 122
Further readingp. 122
9 The Elderly in the Criminal Justice Process I: Is there an Elderly Crime Wave?p. 124
Introductionp. 124
An elderly crime wave?p. 125
Social constructionism and the elderly criminalp. 127
Causes of crime by the elderlyp. 132
Further readingp. 136
10 The Elderly in the Criminal Justice Process II: Experience of Arrest and Detentionp. 137
Introductionp. 137
Leniency towards the elderly?p. 137
Imprisonment and the squeaky wheel syndromep. 141
Synopsis of Chapters 9 and 10p. 149
Further readingp. 150
11 Conclusion--Towards a Criminology of the Elderly?p. 151
Introductionp. 151
The diversity of the elderlyp. 151
Welfare versus criminal justicep. 152
Private space versus public space, intimates versus strangersp. 153
From structure to inter-personal relationsp. 153
The lack of historyp. 153
Bibliographyp. 155
Author indexp. 177
Subject indexp. 183