The Norwegian police and victims of elder abuse in close and familial relationships
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Over recent decades domestic violence or family violence, violence against women and child abuse has received much attention in the media, in political discourse and in social research. However, abuse of older adults arouses limited interest. In government action against domestic violence and in police guidance manuals, the elderly receive little attention. The aim of this article is primarily to demonstrate how the police attempt to prevent elder abuse in close relationships, especially in parent-child relationships. Police work connected to criminal elder abuse has been documented through statistics, and the numbers reveal that very few cases end up in court. Most of this article focuses on prevention and assistance. Despite resistance among the elderly to involve the police in their desperate situations, policing at least has the capacity to make a difference for many elderly victims, especially through home visits, motivation, dialogue and interdisciplinary collaboration. Yet some dilemmas remain when policing elder abuse. This article highlights some contradictions between the need of the police to produce criminal cases (often contrary to the interests of the victims) on the one hand, and the police’s duty to prevent further abuse on the other. Research has documented that help and prevention measures in question make the situation even worse for the victims they are meant to help.