April 01, 2014

Domestic Violence in Later Life

By Jacqueline J. Stutts

Scope of the Problem

In 2012 in Pennsylvania, 141 deaths were attributed to the crime of domestic violence. Of this number, 15 were of persons over the age of 65. These deaths included a 71-year-old woman who was beaten to death with a pipe wrench by her 75-year-old husband, a 69-year-old woman who was fatally shot by her 85-year-old boyfriend, and a 79-year-old man who was fatally assaulted by his 54-year-old son.

The National Institute of Justice reported that in 2009, approximately one in 10 people age 60 and older experienced some form of abuse. In nearly 90 percent of these cases, the perpetrator was a family member. Husbands, as opposed to wives or other family members, were twice as likely to be the abuser.

Incidents such as these are referred to as domestic violence in later life.

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