National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Effectiveness of a Joint Police and Social Services Response to Elder Abuse in Manhattan [New York City], New York, 1996-1997 (ICPSR 3130) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This project consisted of an evaluation of an elder abuse program run by the New York Police Department and Victim Services Research. The focus of the study was domestic elder abuse, which generally refers to any of several forms of maltreatment, physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, and/or financial exploitation of an older person. The program, conducted in New York City public housing, had two complementary parts. First, public housing projects in Manhattan were assigned to one of two levels of public education (i.e., to receive or not to receive educational materials about elder abuse). Once the public education treatment had been implemented, 403 older adult residents of the housing projects who reported elder abuse to the police during the next ten months were assigned to one of two levels of follow-up to the initial police response (i.e., to receive or not to receive a home visit) as the second part of the project. The home visit intervention consisted of a strong law enforcement response designed to prevent repeat incidents of elder abuse. A team from the Domestic Violence Intervention and Education Program (DVIEP), consisting of a police officer and a social worker, followed up on domestic violence complaints with a home visit within a few days of the initial patrol response. Victims were interviewed about new victimizations following the intervention on three occasions: six weeks after the trigger incident, six months after the trigger incident, and twelve months after the trigger incident. Interviews at the three time points were identical except for the omission of background information on the second and third interviews. Demographic data collected during the first interview included age, gender, ethnicity, education, employment, income, legal relationship with abuser, living situation, number of people in the household, and health. For each time point, data provide measures of physical, psychological, and financial abuse, knowledge of elder abuse, knowledge and use of social services, satisfaction with the police, assessment of service delivery, and self-esteem and well-being. The DVIEP databases maintained on households at each of the three participating Police Service Areas (PSAs) were searched to identify new police reports of elder abuse for households in the sample within 12 months following the trigger incident. Variables from the DVIEP databases include age, race, ethnicity, and sex of the victim and the perpetrator, relationship of perpetrator to victim, type of abuse reported, charge, whether an arrest was made, if an order of protection had been obtained, if the order of protection was violated, use of weapons, if the victim had been injured, and if the victim was taken to the hospital. Several time lapse variables between different time points are also provided.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

Study Description

Citation

Davis, Robert C., Juan Medina, and Nancy Avitabile. EFFECTIVENESS OF A JOINT POLICE AND SOCIAL SERVICES RESPONSE TO ELDER ABUSE IN MANHATTAN [NEW YORK CITY], NEW YORK, 1996-1997. ICPSR03130-v1. New York, NY: Victim Services Research [producer], 2000. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2001. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03130.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (95-IJ-CX-0061)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   abuse, crime reporting, domestic violence, elder abuse, households, intervention, older adults, police response, program evaluation, victim services, victimization, victims

Geographic Coverage:   New York (state), New York City, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1996--1997

Date of Collection:  

  • 1996--1997

Unit of Observation:   Individuals

Universe:   Elderly residents of housing projects in Manhattan.

Data Types:   survey data

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Over the past two decades, domestic violence issues have been the focus of growing attention. Numerous studies have been undertaken to study violence in the home and to test ways of reducing it. Although a significant amount of research has been conducted on abused wives and abused children, very little research had been done on the domestic abuse of elderly persons. Similarly, a large number of evaluations have been conducted on the effectiveness of domestic violence programs in general, but little research had been undertaken on the effectiveness of elder abuse programs and of various types of interventions for elder abuse. This project consisted of an evaluation of an elder abuse program run by the New York Police Department and Victim Services Research. The focus of the study was domestic elder abuse, which generally refers to any of several forms of maltreatment, physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, and/or financial exploitation of an older person. The program, conducted in New York City public housing, had two complementary parts. The community-level component provided education through leaflets and posters to all elderly residents of housing projects that were targeted to receive educational materials about elder abuse. In the individual-level component, crisis response teams (each consisting of a police officer and a social worker) were dispatched to randomly-selected residents to follow up on the initial patrol response to elder abuse reports and to link elder abuse victims and abusers to long-term social services. The intent of the two interventions was to improve the victim's awareness and use of resources, the victim's knowledge of elder abuse, and the willingness of victims to call the police. The theory behind the interventions posited that, through the provision of information and the impression of increased police surveillance, a reduction in repeat victimization would be observed. This reduction of repeat victimization and the provision of supportive services were expected to have an effect on the psychological health and well-being of the victims.

Study Design:   This study employed community-level and individual-level interventions combined in a nested randomized experimental design. First, public housing projects in Manhattan were assigned to one of two levels of public education (i.e., to receive or not to receive educational materials about elder abuse). The public education intervention consisted of several components, including distribution of leaflets, hanging of posters, and community presentations. Brochures and posters describing elder abuse and giving phone numbers for assistance were distributed to building managers at the intervention sites. The managers placed the posters in lobbies, laundry rooms, mail areas, rental offices, and other common areas. Brochures were delivered to the apartments of elderly residents. For targeted housing projects, presentations on elder abuse were made at public housing tenant association meetings. The remaining housing projects were assigned to the control group. Once the public education treatment had been implemented, 403 older adult residents of the housing projects who reported elder abuse to the police during the next ten months were assigned to one of two levels of follow-up to the initial police response (i.e., to receive or not to receive a home visit) as the second part of the project. The home visit intervention consisted of a strong law enforcement response designed to prevent repeat incidents of elder abuse. A team from the Domestic Violence Intervention and Education Program (DVIEP), consisting of a police officer and a social worker, followed up on domestic violence complaints with a home visit within a few days of the initial patrol response. Cases assigned home visits received a letter and phone calls, which provided referral numbers and notified of an upcoming home visit. During the home visit, the DVIEP team discussed current and past abuse with victims, and provided information about elder abuse. The team emphasized to victims that elder abuse is a crime, and the team explained procedures for filing an order of protection and the difference between family court and criminal court. If the offender was present, the police officer informed the abuser that the household was being monitored. Four weeks after the initial home visit, the victim received a follow-up telephone call from the counselor. Each victim was given the name and telephone number of their local DVIEP counselor and other local Victim Services counselors specializing in elder abuse. The team assessed the household for service needs and made referrals as needed (e.g., to respite care, counseling programs for abusers, home care services for seniors). Cases not assigned to the home visit group were assigned to the control group. Following the usual patrol response to the elder abuse complaint, these cases received a generic DVIEP letter that was similar to the intervention group's letter but omitted information on elder abuse and information about the home visit. Victims were interviewed about new victimizations following the intervention on three occasions, six weeks after the trigger incident, six months after the trigger incident, and twelve months after the trigger incident. The DVIEP databases maintained on households at each of the three participating PSAs were searched to identify new police reports of elder abuse for households in the sample within 12 months following the trigger incident.

Sample:   Nested randomized experimental design using dual sampling frames.

Data Source:

telephone and personal interviews

Description of Variables:   Interviews at the three time points were identical except for the omission of background information on the second and third interviews. Demographic data collected during the first interview only included age, gender, ethnicity, education, employment, income, legal relationship with abuser, living situation, number of people in the household, and health. For each time point, data provide measures of physical, psychological, and financial abuse, knowledge of elder abuse, knowledge and use of social services, satisfaction with the police, assessment of service delivery, and self-esteem and well-being. The DVIEP databases maintained on households at each of the three participating Police Service Areas (PSAs) were searched to identify new police reports of elder abuse for households in the sample within 12 months following the trigger incident. Variables from the DVIEP databases include age, race, ethnicity, and sex of the victim and the perpetrator, relationship of perpetrator to victim, type of abuse reported, charge, whether an arrest was made, if an order of protection had been obtained, if the order of protection was violated, use of weapons, if the victim had been injured, and if the victim was taken to the hospital. Several time lapse variables between different time points are also provided.

Response Rates:   The completion rate with victims was 67 percent for the first interview, 69 percent for the second interview, and 67 percent for the third interview. Between one-third and one-half of researchers' attempts to interview the victims failed due to victim refusals. The refusal rate for victims was 11 percent for the first interview, 14 percent for the second interview, and 14 percent for the third interview. Three percent of the sample was lost because of out-of-town moves and 2 percent due to death and illness. The remainder of those not interviewed could not be contacted by telephone or visits to their homes.

Presence of Common Scales:   To assess history of violence and frequency and severity of violence, this project used a variant of the Conflict Tactics Scale (Straus, 1979) adapted by Pillemer and Finkelhor (1988) in their elder abuse research. To measure knowledge and the use of social services, the researchers adapted a scale used in their earlier research (Davis and Taylor, 1997). The project used the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (Rosenberg, 1979) to gauge self-perceptions of victims. The Bradburn Affect-Balance Scale was administered to tap the affective status of the victims in the sample. A Likert-type scale was also used for the questions on public education.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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