Sibling & Elder Abuse
What is sibling abuse? Why is sibling abuse underreported/people do not seek help?
Sibling abuse is when one sibling, usually the older one, abuses another sibling. Abuse can be physical, emotional, or sexual. It is underreported because most people, especially parents, think it's regular sibling rivalry. Siblings tend to argue, tease each other, and compete. When it escalates, parents do not always notice or believe it is anything more than what regular siblings do. Another reason it is underreported is because the younger sibling (or the one being abused) is scared to tell.
What is elder abuse? What are the most common types of elder abuse? How often does it occur within the family?
Elder abuse is knowing, intended, or careless acts that cause harm to an older person. The most common types of elder abuse are physical, mental, emotional, or financial. Most perpetrators of elder abuse are family members. Elders are abused by their children or grandchildren.
What are risk factors/signs of sibling and elder abuse? What can we do to support survivors?
Risk factors for both groups include isolation, having to depend on someone else, developmental delays/dementia, and stressors for caregivers. For sibling abuse, many older siblings are forced to take on the role of the parent which causes undue stress. For those who abuse elders, the person may not be equip to do all the caregiving and/or may just be overwhelmed with caregiving and working. Signs include bruises, burns, being scared to be alone with their sibling/caregiver, and emotional distress. (In the signs of sexual abuse, there would be signs of sexual assault).
The first way to support these two unique populations is by believing them. They are scared to come forward in the first place. They also place a lot of blame on themselves. Help them process the events and let them know it is not their fault. The abuser should be removed from the home or receive his/her own treatment (this usually happens in the case of sibling abuse).
Reflect on your learning experience for this module
How did this module's content relate to prior courses or your own experiences?
I was unfamiliar with sibling abuse. It makes sense that it happens, and when I listened to the second video, it reminded me of things I have heard of in the past. There have been episodes of SVU about it, but they did not use the term, "sibling abuse" (usually because it was sexual abuse, so they just referred to it that way). I think children should receive more education on sibling abuse, so if a sibling is hurting them, they will say something. Teachers report child abuse all the time, but I do not remember ever thinking to report child abuse by a sibling.
I was familiar with elder abuse from other classes. I have mostly heard about financial abuse and exploitation. When I worked at a community for seniors providing social services, they would tell me about scam phone calls they received. We would talk about that and what to listen for. I did not realize most of the abuse happened by a family member. It makes me sad. I have a soft spot in my heart for the elderly. I was raised by my Nana. I do not like hearing about older people being mistreated, and I could never imagine mistreating someone (anyone in my life). I couldn't believe that there are no laws, and that APS looks different in every community. Someone should develop standards for elders and how to provide them with interventions and getting them help. We need someone to lobby for laws. I did hear that some states have laws with strinct penalties, but we need something more uniform.
Overall, what did you think of the module and interactivities this week? What were your favorite activities? What activities did you dislike or were unclear? Be specific!
This was an interesting module because it was about topics I did not know much about. I wished the videos were more interesting, but after reading the articles, it looks like there is not enough data out there. I am not a math person, but I am a data person. I wanted to learn more about the prevalence of both sibling and elder abuse. The one report/article with all the data and graphs was interesting to look at. As always, I enjoyed making the graphic. They are always fun to do. I wanted more data for my graphic, but in all honestly, I did not spend time to look outside of what was provided to us.