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Elder Abuse and Media Representation of Abuse in Family Settings

Gendered Domestic Violence and Abuse in Popular Culture

ISBN: 978-1-83867-782-4, eISBN: 978-1-83867-781-7

Publication date: 30 November 2020


Issues and developments that have occurred in relation to elder abuse, specifically concerning the domestic setting, will be briefly explored. Over the last 15 years, there has been increasing global recognition of abuse and neglect of older people who might be at risk of such forms of harm, as a social problem needing attention. The role of the media and media representations of elder abuse are clearly of relevance here and are the main focus of this chapter.

Around 500,000 older people are believed to be abused at any one time in the United Kingdom, with most victims of elder abuse being older women with a chronic illness or disability, according to statistics provided by the government information service (NHS Digital, 2019). Most of the abuse recorded relates to domestic settings within communities.

Gender-based violence and abuse amongst older women may be overlooked by health and social care providers. For older women, their gender seems to be forgotten or becomes hidden. Media representation of abuse against older people, particularly older women, does not assist this situation.

Against the backdrop of the global ageing population, it is fundamental that the particular experiences, needs and rights of older people are adequately understood, and that health and care professionals respond appropriately. This chapter explores these issues, in particular the role of the digital media and representations of elder abuse in familial settings and its impact on victims, potential victims, perpetrators, health and social care service providers and the general public.



Penhale, B. (2020), "Elder Abuse and Media Representation of Abuse in Family Settings", Ramon, S., Lloyd, M. and Penhale, B. (Ed.) Gendered Domestic Violence and Abuse in Popular Culture (Emerald Studies in Popular Culture and Gender), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 125-147.



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