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Elderly and Child Abuse

Elderly and Child Abuse

Elderly and child abuse is prevalent in family and other nursing care settings due to limitations, inabilities, and incapacities related to age and frailty. The high prevalence of abuse within family settings is due to the inability of the abused to speak against the abuser due to dependency (Lino et al., 2019). Elderly and child abuse may be sexual, physical, neglect, emotional, or financial, with related negative consequences (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). Healthcare professionals are legally, medically, and morally obligated to report cases of identified abuse of children (Gonzalez et al., 2022). However, their efforts face various ethical challenges. This paper evaluates the impacts of elderly and child abuse, prevention strategies, ethical considerations, and ethical challenges of preventing elderly and child abuse. Do you need help with your assignment ? Hire our assignment writing services in case your assignment is devastating you.

Impact of Elderly and Child Abuse

Elderly or child abuse impacts the victims physically and psychologically (Gonzalez et al., 2022). Elderly abuse can also lead to the reduced financial well-being of the abused individual. Elderly abuse, such as abuse related to financial exploitation and physical neglect, can cause severe physical injuries and mental outcomes such as the development of cognitive impairment and depressive symptoms (Weissberger et al., 2019). Abuse can also lead to the development of social trust issues and isolation and the development of suicidal thoughts and ideation. The consequences of abuse can take a long time to overcome. For instance, the effects of child abuse can extend into adulthood. For instance, a study by Fitzgerald and Esplin (2022) linked marital quality and incidences of expressing negative affect, extremes of emotional reactivity, and aggressive behaviors as a manifestation of child abuse experiences that have been in adulthood.

Prevention of Elderly and Child Abuse and Ethical Consideration

The prevention of elderly and children requires first assessing and diagnosing the victim of abuse (Gonzalez et al., 2022). Although some differences might exist in child and elderly abuse, similar evidence-based approaches are applicable in nursing to prevent elderly and child abuse. Research evidence shows that family-focused interventions that seek to nurture better relationships between caregivers and dependents, such as family support, home visits, and caregiver education, are critical in preventing abuse (Lino et al., 2019). Other strategies include talking to and listening to victims, which can help identify the risk factors and extent of abuse and report cases of abuse. Irrespective of the outcomes of the abuse evaluation, the nurse’s decisions should align with the ethical principles of autonomy, justice, beneficence, and nonmaleficence. This means ensuring the victim has the capacity for self-determination and freedom to ensure their desires are respected, treated fairly, and in a way that reduces harm and benefits their well-being (Gonzalez et al., 2022).

Ethical Challenges in the Prevention of Elderly and Child Abuse

Nurses face various ethical challenges and dilemmas in the prevention of child and elderly abuse. In most cases, the abused may have no physical or mental symptoms of abuse, and the nurses cannot force them to confess even though such cases are suspected. The existing health regulations require nurses to protect patient information and ensure privacy. As such, this creates an ethical dilemma in a case where abuse is notable and the victim is not cooperative. Besides client privacy, nurses are also expected to ensure the mental competency of the victim for consent before making such reports. A case of a child or an aged victim with cognitive impairment may present an ethical challenge. Further, the cultural and religious beliefs of the victims about abuse can ethically limit the provider’s ability to prevent abuse (Gonzalez et al., 2022).


In conclusion, the overall goal of preventing elderly and child abuse is to reduce the chances of occurrence and to prevent it from happening. However, the need to prevent abuse, whether focused on children or the elderly, in a way that respects the patient’s autonomy and privacy as well as helps the victim get justice and protection leads to various ethical challenges that affect nursing efforts toward preventing such abuse.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, June 2). Fast Facts: Preventing Elder Abuse. CDC/ Violence Prevention and Injury Center.

Fitzgerald, M., & Esplin, J. A. (2022). Marital Quality as a Mechanism Linking Childhood Abuse to Mental Health. Journal of Family Issues, 0192513X211059831.

Gonzalez, D., Mirabal, A. B., McCall, J. D., & Doerr, C. (2022). Child Abuse and Neglect (Nursing). In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.

Lino, V. T. S., Rodrigues, N. C. P., de Lima, I. S., Athie, S., & de Souza, E. R. (2019). Prevalence and factors associated with caregiver abuse of elderly dependents: The hidden face of family violence. Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, 24(1), 87–96.

Weissberger, G. H., Mosqueda, L., Nguyen, A. L., Samek, A., Boyle, P. A., Nguyen, C. P., & Han, S. D. (2019). Physical and mental health correlates of perceived financial exploitation in older adults: Preliminary findings from the Finance, Cognition, and Health in Elders Study (FINCHES). Aging and Mental Health, 24(5), 740–746. 


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Elderly and Child Abuse

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