Health Perspectives and Elder Abuse

  • G. C. J. Bennett


Health care workers were first alerted to the possibility that elderly people were being physically abused in the 1970s (Baker, 1975; Burston, 1977). Despite a vociferous compaign (Eastman, 1982), the issue drifted from not only the media headlines but from professional consciousness. Elder abuse at that time had not generated the ‘moral panic’ needed to establish it as a potential social problem. The 1980s saw a more sustained campaign by a wider circle of interested parties — doctors (Edwards, 1982), social workers (Eastman, 1984), voluntary organisations (Tomlin, 1989) — and the first major conference (Tomlin, 1989). Health care workers quickly became aware that their US counterparts had reacted far more readily to the initial UK warnings and had progressed their understanding through research (Pillemer and Finkelhor, 1988). The difference appeared to be that in the US elder abuse became a social problem, whereas in the UK, according to Blumer’s (1971) theory, it had still failed to do so.


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Copyright information

© G. C. H. Bennett 1995

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  • G. C. J. Bennett

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