Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 29, Issue 7, pp 797–807 | Cite as

Giving Voice to ‘Age at the Edge’ – A Challenge for Social Workers Intervening with Elder Abuse and Neglect

  • Tova Band-Winterstein
  • Hadass Goldblatt
  • Sara Alon
Considerations for Clinicians Working with Victims of Violence and Abuse


The purpose of this qualitative study was to learn about social workers’ experience of the therapeutic encounter with victims and perpetrators of elder abuse and neglect and its implications for their personal and professional lives. Participants were 17 experienced women social workers, who worked with abused and neglected older adults in Israel. Data were collected by in-depth semi-structured interviews, which were later transcribed and content analyzed. Four main themes were revealed: (1) The Complexity of the Experience of the Therapeutic Encounter; (2) Circles Echoing Between the Professional and the Personal; (3) Between Growth and Attrition; and (4) Experiencing the Mission and its Meaning. As time is running out for older adults, the “now or never” perspective shapes social workers’ encounter with elder abuse opening a unique kind of dialogue. Implications for practice and further research are discussed.


Elder abuse and neglect Social workers Experience Qualitative research 


Author Note

This work was supported by: Grants from ESHEL – The Association for the Planning and Development of Services for the Aged in Israel, and the University of Haifa Research Authority. The authors wish to thank the social workers, intervening with older adults suffering from abuse and neglect, who participated willingly in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tova Band-Winterstein
    • 1
  • Hadass Goldblatt
    • 2
  • Sara Alon
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Gerontology, Faculty of Social Welfare & Health SciencesUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Nursing, Faculty of Social Welfare & Health SciencesUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.ESHEL – The Association for the Planning and Development of Services for the Aged in IsraelJerusalemIsrael

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