Applying problem-oriented policing to elder abuse

Dr Emily Moir1

1Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia

The purpose of this paper is to understand how adopting the criminological approach of Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) may help create targeted prevention strategies for specific types of elder abuse. Criminological research supports that crime patterns are non-random, and consistent places, times, and people are more at risk than others. This perspective argues that crime occurs because of opportunities within proximal situations: people cannot commit crime if there are no opportunities to do so. The identification of opportunities and the non-random nature of crime has helped develop POP which can be used to identify the opportunity structure of specific crime types, including elder abuse. Such an approach can help develop appropriate and targeted responses to specific kinds of elder abuse. To facilitate the POP process, a four stage model can be used: (1) scanning (understanding the nature of the problem), (2) analysis, (identifying what causes the problem), (3) response (identifying what could and should be done about the problem), and (4) assessment (evaluating the outcomes). Overall, it is argued that elder abuse prevention can benefit from applying a criminological approach to understanding what causes specific types of elder abuse and how such opportunities can be blocked.


Dr. Emily Moir is a criminologist and lecturer within the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. Her research focuses on how opportunities for crime arise and how they can be prevented through guardianship and situational crime prevention. Emily has applied this framework to several crime types including property crime, child sexual abuse, workplace exploitation, and elder abuse.


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