National Institute on Aging Study: The Sexual Abuse of Vulnerable
Adults in Institutions
PDF Version of BQA
(PDF, 27 KB)
Date: May 2, 2005 -- BQA Memo 05-006
FROM: Cris Ros-Dukler, Director, Bureau of Quality Assurance
We are pleased to inform you that Wisconsin has been chosen to participate
in an important multi-site national study funded by the National
Institute on Aging (NIA): The
Sexual Abuse of Vulnerable Adults in Institutions.
While it is firmly believed that sexual abuse is the
least observed, acknowledged, detected and reported type of elder
victimization, the sexual abuse of vulnerable adults and the outcomes of
state interventions have been the subject of few empirical studies.
There is an insufficient knowledge base, either in the literature or
among those who work with this vulnerable population, to build a best
practice response and intervention protocol for instances of sexual assault
occurring in facility settings.
The Bureau of Quality Assurance (BQA) has received
nearly 50 reports a year from 1999-2003 of sexual assaults occurring in long
term care facilities in Wisconsin. In
2000, 4,150 allegations of sexual abuse/assault were reported to Adult
Protective Service (APS) systems across the nation. Studies estimate that only 3 to 25 percent of all sexual assaults are
This study, conducted by nationally recognized elder mistreatment experts
Pamela B. Teaster, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the Graduate Center for
Gerontology at the University of Kentucky, and Holly Ramsey-Klawsnik, Ph.D.,
Sociologist and Mental Health Clinician with Klawsnik & Klawsnik
Associates, Massachusetts, is designed to provide a better picture of the
sexual abuse of vulnerable adults in institutions. Wisconsin will receive credit as a contributor to this groundbreaking
research, which, by calling attention to this problem, could assist in
finding remedies, as well as funding, to address the issues identified.
The study will be carried out by BQA surveyors/
complaint investigators, BQA Office of Caregiver Quality (OCQ)
investigators, Department of Justice investigators, and county Adult
Protective Service/Elder Abuse workers as they perform their customary role
in responding to, and investigating alleged abuse and neglect of residents
or misappropriation of resident property.
The purpose of the study, which will take place between May 1, 2005, and October
31, 2005, is to better understand the characteristics of residents who
become victims of sexual abuse so that they may be better protected in the
future, and to improve investigatory techniques used by facility and
regulatory agency staff. This study is
extremely valuable and could help to prevent unnecessary suffering by
residents in facilities.
privacy and confidentiality, no names or other individual identifiers will
ever be forwarded to the researchers at the University of Kentucky. Assigned study and case numbers will be used for tracking and
If you have any questions, please contact:
DDES Project Liaison
Jane Raymond, Bureau of Aging & Long Term Care Resources
BQA Project Liaison
Shari Busse, Office of Caregiver Quality
On behalf of the Department, thank you for all you do
on behalf of vulnerable adults in Wisconsin and your contribution to the
success of this national effort.
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Last Updated: September 29, 2011