Sexual Abuse of the Elderly

Sexual abuse is one of the most understudied aspects of elder mistreatment. An NIJ-sponsored study that examined elder sexual abuse found that: [1]

  • Elderly sexual assault victims were not routinely evaluated to assess the psychological effects of an assault.
  • The older the victim, the less likelihood that the offender would be convicted of sexual abuse.
  • Perpetrators were more likely to be charged with a crime if victims exhibited signs of physical trauma.
  • Victims in assisted living situations faced a lower likelihood than those living independently that charges would be brought and the assailant found guilty.


[1] Burgess, Ann W., Nancy P. Hanrahan, and Timothy Baker, "Forensic Markers in Elder Female Sexual Abuse Cases," Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 21(2) (2005): 399-412, NCJ ​245450.

Date Modified: April 16, 2014