Family Violence And Abuse Essays Example
According to the definition of elder abuse presented by Wallace and Robertson (2014), the caseworker should be able to prove that Mamie has suffered or currently suffers from neglect, harm or injury, whether physical, psychological or material, as a result of her son’s actions or the lack of such (p. 292). While the age of an elderly person, whose case should be viewed as a possible elder abuse, varies from state to state, as Mamie is 87, she certainly falls into this group. As a potential victim, Mamie has a number of factors that support her possible victimization, as well as complicate a task of finding out if she has been abused or neglected by her son. The first factor is her incapacitation that most likely prevents her from taking care of herself and satisfying her basic needs. For this reason, Mamie is nearly fully dependent on her son and need his constant care. The second factor is the gradual loss of memory that is common in people of her age (Wallace & Robertson, 2014, p. 297). Unfortunately, for this reason, she may not be able to provide evidence of abuse because she might not remember it, even if it indeed took place. At the same time, even if she recollects such events, she should be thoroughly examined by medical professionals to make sure that, apart from memory loss, her mental health is in good condition and that she can be a witness.
As in many similar cases, the possible perpetrator is the son, Mamie’s adult child (p. 294). The information on him suggests that a man is dependent upon Mamie’s finances, as he is a retired and non-working soldier. At the same time, it has been officially confirmed that he suffers from a serious psychiatric disorder called paranoid schizophrenia and has been hospitalized because of it at least once. Given the interdependence of Mamie and Meldrick and his disorders, the caseworker should be alert to the increased possibility of elder abuse, as Meldrick’s presumable abuse or neglect could be potentially explained by some of the theories provided by Wallace and Robertson. Primarily, psychopathology and social exchange theory can explain the son’s behavior. In the first case, one research holds that there is “a high prevalence of mental illness among elder abusers”, and scholars also claim that hospitalization for a serious mental disorder, including schizophrenia, has been present in some cases of elder abuse (Wallace & Robertson, 2014, p. 299). In this case, Meldrick’s possible actions might have been caused by his disorder. The second theory states that dependency of either an elder person or her caretaker can cause imbalance in their relationship, and the necessity to regain power in it causes the perpetrator to perform abusive actions (Wallace & Robertson, 2014, p. 299). In Mamie’s case, both people are interdependent, which might increase the son’s frustration with the condition of him and his mother simultaneously, thus, increasing the possibility of abuse as a release of such frustration. The intergenerational transmission of violence theory might explain Meldrick’s behavior by focusing of his upbringing and his childhood, during which he might have been a victim or witness of violence from an adult, which, in turn, might have caused him to repeat such behavior. The family stress theory suggests that the son’s behavior is caused by the stress he experiences from having to take care of his mother. However, in this case, Meldrick refused Mamie’s suggestion to relocate their mother in a nursing home, although he could have used this opportunity to relieve his stress. Possibly, he is aware of the conditions many nursing homes have and does not want his mother to suffer there, which might increase his level of stress. The neutralization theory does not directly suggest the causes for Meldrick’s possible abusive behavior, but instead lists a number of justifications that he might use to explain his actions. The list contains different forms of denial, condemnation of the condemners and appeal to higher loyalty, but neither of these justifications has been suggested by Meldrick yet and, for this reason, this theory cannot yet suggest proof that Mamie is abused by Meldrick (Wallace & Robertson, 2014, p. 299). Because of the insufficiency of information, the last three theories cannot be effectively used to explain Meldrick’s behavior.
The accusations of Meldrick by Moira are very serious and, for this reason, they need to be supported by evidence, as the incomplete investigation and unsupported conclusions can have a very negative impact on the lives of both Moira, who will be placed in a nursing home instead of living with her child, and Meldrick, who may possibly be charged with a criminal offense. For this reason, Moira’s reports need to be supported by the actual evidence of Meldrick leaving his mother in his car for long hours and in winter. The caseworker and the police need to find videotapes from the security cameras in the places, where Moira saw her mother in the car. People, who witnessed Meldrick playing cards in church, drinking in bars and visiting OTB need to be examined in order to establish whether Mamie was in the car for a long time. If this is confirmed, he will be guilty of psychological abuse and neglect. Also, the caseworker needs to investigate Mamie’s and Meldricks finances and spending in order to establish whether money of Mamie and Moira have been spent by Meldrick on his personal activities instead of the health of his mother. If this is confirmed, the son will be guilty of material abuse by converting his mother’s funds to his own use without approval or knowledge of the elder, given his mother’s memory problems (Wallace & Robertson, 2014, p. 298). Moira’s evidence of Mamie’s bruises need to be analyzed by the medical professionals in order to establish whether they are abnormal and caused by her son’s abuse or neglect. Moreover, Mamie’s current body health needs to be examined for the same purpose. If the abuse if confirmed, the son will be guilty of physical abuse of his mother.
Mamie’s case lacks enough evidence and crucial information and needs to be investigated deeper and with the involvement of medical professionals, police and authorities that can disclose information about the use of Mamie’s finances by her son, Meldrick, in order to establish whether elder abuse takes place. In her particular case, the details provided by Mamie’s daughter and son can neither fully support, nor refute the claim that Meldrick abuses his mother physically and materially, as well as neglects his caretaker obligations, thus, harming her well-being. For this reason, the caseworker needs to take into consideration the results of financial investigation, the examination of witnesses and evidence and medical assessment of Mamie’s health before presenting a final decision.
Wallace, H., & Roberson, C. (2014). Family violence: Legal, medical, and social perspectives (Seventh ed.). Pearson.