The special population I have selected for this discussion are elderly individuals. Federal laws define older individuals as persons age 60 and older (Davis, Lurigio & Herman, 2013). The type of crime to which elderly individuals are vulnerable is elder abuse. According to Davis et al. (2013), “elder abuse is generally understood to mean an act or a failure to act that causes physical, economic, or psychological harm to an elderly person or the violation of an elder’s human rights” (p.162). Researchers suggest elder abuse can occur because there is too much stress on the caregivers when trying to meet the elder’s needs all while balancing other responsibilities (Davis et al., 2013). It is unlikely elders will report the elder abuse. This reason is mainly because the offender is usually a relative. Davis et al. (2013) reports most offenders are family members and adult children are the most frequent abusers.
Elderly individuals may receive better treatment within the criminal justice system than other populations. Elders are very vulnerable and may be treated as if they were children. Davis et al. (2013) found “jurisdictions have recognized the value of specialized law enforcement and prosecution units to handle elder abuse victims and their cases” (p.176). There are also elder service officers that are trained in taking case reports and interviews of elderly victims. In addition, certain states have even created specialized statutes criminalizing crimes committed against elders.
Davis, R. C., Lurigio, A. J., & Herman, S. (Eds.). (2013). Victims of crime (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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