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Institutional abuse – Characteristics of victims, perpetrators and organsations: A systematic review

Kamavarapu, Y.S.; Ferriter, Michael; Morton, S.; V�llm, Birgit

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Y.S. Kamavarapu

Michael Ferriter

S. Morton

Birgit V�llm


Abuse of vulnerable adults in institutional settings has been reported from various countries; however, there has been no systematic review of the characteristics of the victims and their Q3 abusers. Our aim was to identify and synthesise the literature on victims and perpetrators of abuse in institutions and the characteristics of the institutions where abuse occurs in order to inform interventions to prevent such abuse.

Methods: Searches of MEDLINE (OVID), CINHAL (EBSCO), EMBASE (OVID) and PsychINFO (OVID) databases identified 4279 references. After screening of titles and abstracts, 123 citations merited closer inspection. After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, 22 articles were included in the review. Results: Our review suggested that the evidence available on risk factors is not extensive but some conclusions can be drawn. Clients, staff, institutional and environmental factors appear to play a role in increasing the risk of abuse. Cases of abuse may be underreported.

Conclusions: Vulnerable clients need closer monitoring. Clients and staff may lack the awareness and knowledge to identify and report abuse. Institutions should take proactive steps to monitor clients, train staff and devise systems that allow for the identification and reporting of incidents of abuse and take steps to prevent such incidents. Staff need education and awareness of institutional policies to identify and report abuse. There is a need for further research into the association between the individual client, staff and institutional characteristics and abuse. Such information may be useful in quantifying risk to individual clients and planning their care.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 3, 2016
Online Publication Date Nov 10, 2016
Publication Date 2017-02
Deposit Date Oct 7, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 10, 2016
Journal European Psychiatry
Print ISSN 0924-9338
Electronic ISSN 1778-3585
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 40
Pages 45-54
Keywords characteristics, staff, adults, vulnerable, caregiver, institution, abuse
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