Informal supporters of elder abuse victims: who are they and what is their experience seeking help?

Silvia Fraga Dominguez*, Jennifer Storey, Emily Glorney

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study examined the characteristics and experiences of informal supporters of elder abuse victims, including family members, friends, and neighbors—referred to as concerned persons. The researchers utilized secondary data from a UK national elder abuse helpline to investigate the profile and help-seeking experiences (including the impact of helping) of concerned persons reporting abuse to the helpline. The researchers focused on one year of data (2017–2018), and 1623 records met inclusion criteria. Of these, 1352 were reported by a concerned person, and descriptive statistics are provided to describe this sample. The help-seeking experience was investigated using qualitative content analysis. Concerned persons were primarily female family members, often adult children of the victim and siblings of the perpetrator. They faced barriers to helping the victim, particularly in relation to formal services. Many also reported impact as a result of knowing about the abuse or helping the victim; particularly to their mental health and their relationship with the victim. Findings indicate that concerned persons often face substantial barriers and negative impact when they support elder abuse victims. There is a need to advance research on concerned persons and identify ways of effectively supporting them, given their essential role in facilitating elder abuse victims’ access to formal services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1026
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number7
Early online date13 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Elder mistreatment
  • Concerned persons
  • Barriers
  • Help-seeking
  • Family members

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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