Elder Abuse: A Critical Overview

  • Chris Phillipson
  • Simon Biggs


In the mid-1970s, a new phrase entered the lexicon of the caring professions — that of ‘granny-battering’ (Baker, 1975; Burston, 1977). In Britain, doctors and social workers began, from this period, to document cases of people subject to often severe instances of cruelty and neglect. Mervyn Eastman (1983; 1984; forthcoming), who was to become a leading figure in the debate, produced a monograph detailing numerous cases from his own records and from other contacts with older people and informal carers. Few could doubt, from the nature of his descriptions, that an important area of concern had been identified. Yet, shocking as the cases he identified certainly were, it might be argued that they made little immediate impact, either on the community of professionals concerned with caring for older people, or on the wider society. The reasons for this were threefold. First, for the professions involved with older people, adjustments were still being made to the various other forms of family violence identified in the 1960s and 1970s (notably child abuse and violence to women). Set in this context, the problems of ‘battered grannies’ (a term which hardly promoted the cause) struggled to gain a public hearing.


Nursing Home Domestic Violence Physical Abuse Informal Carer Physical Violence 
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Copyright information

© Chris Phillipson and Simon Biggs 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Phillipson
  • Simon Biggs

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