The purpose of this paper is to explore the detection and prevention of elder financial abuse through the lens of a “professional bystander intervention model”. The authors were interested in the decision cues that raise suspicions of financial abuse, how such abuse comes to the attention of professionals who do not have a statutory responsibility for safeguarding older adults, and the barriers to intervention.
In‐depth interviews were conducted using the critical incident technique. Thematic analysis was carried out on transcribed interviews. In total, 20 banking and 20 health professionals were recruited. Participants were asked to discuss real cases which they had dealt with personally.
The cases described indicated that a variety of cues were used in coming to a decision that financial abuse was very likely taking place. Common to these cases was a discrepancy between what is normal and expected and what is abnormal or unexpected. There was a marked difference in the type of abuse noticed by banking and health professionals, drawing attention to the ways in which context influences the likelihood that financial abuse will be detected. The study revealed that even if professionals suspect abuse, there are barriers which prevent them acting.
The originality of this study lies in its use of the bystander intervention model to study the decision‐making processes of professionals who are not explicitly charged with adult safeguarding. The study was also unique because real cases were under consideration. Hence, what the professionals actually do, rather than what they might do, was under investigation.
Gilhooly, M., Cairns, D., Davies, M., Harries, P., Gilhooly, K. and Notley, E. (2013), "Framing the detection of financial elder abuse as bystander intervention: decision cues, pathways to detection and barriers to action", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 54-68. https://doi.org/10.1108/14668201311313578Download as .RIS
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