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J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2012 Sep;13(7):657-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2012.05.012. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Elderly residents at risk for being victims or offenders.

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Department of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy.


The phenomenon of elderly sexual offenders is poorly catalogued, and is especially complex. In institutions, elderly people are often unrecognized victims of sexual abuse but are also at great risk for doing abuse toward vulnerable victims like children. The lack of attention to an elder's basic needs can endanger or impair not only his or her health or safety but also that of other people living close together. In this article, for the first time we describe an episode of sexual abuse realized by an institutionalized patient toward a young visitor. This specific risk factor in a residential care home for elderly may lead to a variety of negative behavioral outcomes, including the perpetration of child sexual offending. As the elderly population will increase tremendously in the next years, it is necessary to better understand the motivations and psychological factors relating to elderly sex offenders, to prevent these offenses, and to define standards for surveillance of residents who are potential perpetrators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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