1st Edition

Elderly Sexual Abuse Theory, Research, and Practice

By Eric Beauregard, Julien Chopin Copyright 2022
    182 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    182 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers an analytical review of the state of knowledge on elderly sexual abuse and presents new data that will confront some of the accepted ideas and some of the myths associated with this specific form of sexual violence. Sexual violence research has often considered children to be the most vulnerable population. However, another population just as vulnerable to sexual abuse but often overlooked by researchers, is the elderly. Evidence shows that elderly victims are more likely to be attacked by strangers, most likely to be victimized in their own homes, and are usually less capable of resisting a physical attack.

    Drawing on a large and representative dataset, Elderly Sexual Abuse offers a full and theoretically informed picture of the offenders and their crimes. In addition to a specific chapter devoted to prevention and criminal investigation, the book also connects research to practice, exploring what the findings mean for professionals working with these cases and the criminal justice system.

    This book is essential reading for all those engaged with sexual violence, victimization, elder abuse, and vulnerable populations.

    Introduction: Elderly sexual abuse: Victimization proneness and vulnerability  1.Understanding elderly sexual abuse from a criminological approach  2.Elderly sexual abuse: Description and unusual aspects  3.Elderly victims: A different crime-commission process?  4.Offenders’ types and offenders’ motivations in elderly sexual abuse  5.Lethal outcome in elderly sexual abuse  6.Elderly sexual abuse in residential care  7.Victimological processes of elderly sexual abuse in an extrafamilial context  8.Elderly and child victims: Different age, same issue  9.Prevention and investigation of elderly sexual abuse  Conclusion: Where have all the "good old" people gone?


    Eric Beauregard is Professor at the School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Canada.

    Julien Chopin is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Criminology, Simon Fraser University, Canada.

    This book represents the first attempt ever to study systematically the sexual abuse of elderly persons. The routine activities of elderly persons normally protect them from risks and abuses. Yet, paradoxically, in some settings elderly persons are in a very weak position to protect themselves. That’s why the current book is so useful.  

    —Marcus K. Felson, PhD, Professor, Texas State University – San Marcos

    Despite the popular rhetoric of old age being the era of "golden years" the fact is that it is an age of higher vulnerability and enhanced susceptibility to various kinds of victimization. COVID-19 pandemic revealed to unsuspecting Canadians the dire and victimizing conditions in residential care homes where a large number of elderly Canadians languish for the remainder of their lives.

    This book is a laudable effort to draw attention to sexual abuse of the elderly, a neglected type of victimization that surprisingly has not generated much research and only skimpy literature, due apparently to its hidden nature and prohibitive dark figure. The book is a valiant and commendable attempt to fill this glaring gap in what may be called "geronto victimology".

    Most people usually think of sexual victimization of the elderly as an extremely rare occurence since older individuals do not seem to be ‘attractive’ sexual targets. To them the book’s revelations will come as a surprise. One finding the book reveals is that opportunity and routine activities play a more important role in triggering sexual victimization of the elderly than target sexual attractiveness does.

    The book takes a phenomenological approach and pays attention to situational opportunities that create, facilitate or precipitate sexual abuse of elderly victims. And instead of the traditional, though futile, emphasis on the causes the authors are to be given credit for directing their attention to offenders’ motives . The authors should also be given credit for not engaging in endless regurgitation of causal factors and for taking instead a more dynamic approach focusing on routine activities, rational choice theories as well as the criminal event perspective.

    The book ends with useful suggestions pertaining to the prevention of sexual abuse of the elderly in both residential care settings and the community at large and by offering some helpful tips for improving the investigation of elderly sexual victimization.

    —Ezzat Fattah, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University

    Elderly Sexual Abuse: Theory, Research, and Practice is a superb comprehensive compendium of current state of the art and science of this increasingly important subspeciality of elder abuse. This substantive textbook is indispensable to the serious practitioner. In addition to being readable and practically useful to law enforcement, academics, and geriatric health professionals, it will be invaluable to everyone who has an interest in the elderly sexual abuse victim, their offenders, and unique attributes of their crimes.

    —Mark E. Safarik, criminal profiler (Ret.), FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, author of Spree Killers: Practical Classifications for Law Enforcement and Criminology