Abuso y maltrato al anciano: análisis y revisión de sentencias judiciales en España

    Student thesis: Doctoral thesis


    Objectives. To describe the verdicts from the spanish provincial criminal courts related to elder abuse, between 2000 and 2013, and to analyze the characteristics and types of this abuse. Material and method. We used the data base from the General Council of Judicial Power (CGPJ). The search criteria of the verdicts was a combination of 13 key words using a series of conditions related to the words elderly and old person. 6,700 verdicts were obtained. These verdicts were examined to see if they complied with the criteria of inclusion (victim ≥65 years of whom the judge took into account the advanced age of the abused person and/or if the victim suffered from dementia or any other mental illness). Finally there were 338 verdicts for analysis. The data from the verdicts, the victim and the abuser and type of abuse was compiled. Results. In 299 of the verdicts, the most frequently judged act was "the crime” [120(40%) against property; 65 (21.7%) against life; 41 (13.7%) family abuse], followed by “criminal offences" in 89 verdicts [87(97.7%) criminal offences against persons]. The place where these crimes/ criminal offences were committed was the home in 227 cases (67%), outdoor public areas in 66 (20%) and the nursing-home in 45 (13%). Victims: average age 80.4, females (78.1%) In 260 verdicts (77%) the condition of elderly person is stated and in the other 78 (23%) there was presence of either dementia or other mental problems. Abuser: Average age 44.6 male (71.6%). In 185 cases in which the nationality was registered, this was Spanish in 150 cases (81%). In 230 verdicts (68%) the victim knew their abuser. In 119 verdicts the abuser was a close family member (35.2%), in 111 it was an acquaintance. (32.8%). Within the family circle, the abuse was more frequent in the home and the most frequent crimes were connected to "abuse within the family circle". On the other hand, the crimes of injury or “against public property" were significantly more frequent when the abuser was an unknown person (common crime). The existence of "mental illness" was significant when the place of abuse was the home or the nursing home care. This type of abuse was identified to be more frequent than negligence [217 verdicts (64.2%)]. The existence of physical abuse was related to the following characteristics of the abuser; minor age [41.8 years vs 49.7(p<0.0001)]; male [81.5% vs 53.7% (p<0.0001)]; kinship of unknown person [43.8% vs 10.7% (p<0.0001)] and the most frequent location an outdoor public area [27.2% vs 5.8% (p<0.0001)]. The psychological abuse was connected to an abuser from within the family circle [(39.8% vs 25.9% (p<0.0001)] most frequently occurring in the home [(73.4% vs 54.4%) (p<0.0001)]. Conclusions. 1. The most frequent criminal acts against elderly people have been crimes against property (theft/fraud), crimes resulting in death (murder/assassination), crimes of habitual abuse (domestic violence) and criminal offences (injuries/threats/coercion). 2. Almost 70% of the victims knew their abuser. 3. Forms of abuse were more frequent than negligence. 4. The usual location where this abuse/criminal offence took place was the home of the victim. 5. The data base of the CGPJ has been of use to find out about the characteristics of one aspect of elder abuse which is occurring in our society, but it only shows the most severe cases of abuse. The clinical information contained in the verdicts is limited and therefore it is difficult to identify when there is a close relationship between the elderly person and the abuser.
    Date of Award13 Dec 2018
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRamon Miralles Basseda (Director) & Jose Planas Domingo (Director)

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