Pamela Tozzo1, *, Caterina Politi2, Andrea Gabbin2, Sarah Gino3, Luciana Caenazzo1


1Department of Molecular Medicine, Laboratory of Forensic Genetics, University of Padova, 35121 Padova, Italy - 2Department of Cardiac, Thoracic, Vascular Sciences and Public Health, University of Padova, 35121 Padova, Italy - 3Department of Health Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale, 28100 Novara, Italy


Introduction: Nowadays, the world’s population is ageing, causing the growth of a new category of patients: elderly people affected by a particular vulnerability due to the simultaneous presence of multiple chronic diseases, fragility, and disability. Because of the ageing population, elder abuse is dramatically increasing too. Despite its prevalence and serious negative consequences, and despite its recent emergence as a critical social and medical problem, abuse of older people often remains undetected and unrecognized. 

Material and methods: We made a brief review of the Literature in order to search the most relevant and up to date publications related to the current situation of elder abuse worldwide, assess the major challenges in its recognition and management, and provide insights that may benefit the victims of elder abuse.

Results: Violence against older people also creates critical issues for care teams. Since technical expertise in abuse management depends on knowledge, expertise and preparedness, it is of fundamental importance for healthcare personnel who treat abused subjects and conduct the initial examination and evidence collection to identify and report mistreatment and to support the elderly as a vulnerable population. On the other hand, it is imperative that the structure be organized in such a way as to put at the disposal of the individual professional the time and methods of assistance that are necessary to ensure an adequate level of care. 

Conclusion: The implementation of care and assistance, both for healthcare professionals and for healthcare facilities, plays a crucial role in the prevention of elder abuse.


Elderly abuse, elderly maltreatment, healthcare training, professional dilemma, vulnerable populations, forensic medicine.