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Mental Health in Later LifeTaking a Life Course Approach$
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Alisoun Milne

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781447305729

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447305729.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 02 August 2021

Abuse, mistreatment and neglect

Abuse, mistreatment and neglect

(p.115) 6 Abuse, mistreatment and neglect
Mental Health in Later Life

Alisoun Milne

Policy Press

Between 2% and 10% of all older people are estimated to be victims of abuse. Isolation, frailty, dementia and dependency are all risk factors. Abuse and mistreatment occur in all contexts - family members are often implicated in domestic settings and paid workers in care settings. Whatever its aetiology abuse, in all its guises, has profoundly negative mental health consequences, including depression, anxiety, learned helplessness and post-traumatic stress disorder. These are pronounced in situations where exposure to abuse has been long term. At present all ‘types’ of abuse - domestic abuse, sexual violence, institutional abuse, abuse by a relative -are managed under the institutional umbrella of ‘safeguarding’. This model not only uncouples abuse from its (often) lifecourse roots but tends to foreground age as its defining dimension. Most policy related literature does not refer to frailty, socioeconomic disadvantage, gender, or issues of power. As power lies at the very heart of abuse of older people in all contexts this is a profound oversight. Policy and practice responses struggle to accommodate the complex causes of abuse, structural issues, or the perspective of the older person. They also fail to engage with a discourse of rights and social justice.

Keywords:   Abuse and mistreatment of older people, Risk factors for abuse, Contexts and settings of abuse, Mental health consequences of abuse, Safeguarding and abuse, Policy and practice responses to abuse

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