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Nursing Research and Practice
Volume 2015, Article ID 716407, 6 pages
Research Article

Sexual Abuse of Older Residents in Nursing Homes: A Focus Group Interview of Nursing Home Staff

1Faculty of Nursing, Diakonhjemmet University College, Oslo, Norway
2Faculty of Nursing, Sør-Trøndelag University College, Trondheim, Norway

Received 3 March 2015; Accepted 28 April 2015

Academic Editor: Karyn Holm

Copyright © 2015 Maria Helen Iversen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The objective of this study was to increase knowledge of sexual abuse against older residents in nursing homes. A qualitative approach was used. Through a focus group interview with staff in nursing homes, the aim was to reveal employees’ thoughts, experiences, and attitudes. Findings from the focus group interview show that sexual abuse of older residents is a taboo topic among health professionals. Acts of sexual abuse are difficult to imagine; it is hard to believe that it occurs. The fact that staff are not aware that it could happen, or have a hard time believing that it actually happens, can amplify the residents’ vulnerable position as potential victims of abuse, and it makes it even more challenging to report or uncover such acts. The study highlights the need for education of all health care workers in Norway as well as more research on sexual abuse against older residents in nursing homes. Furthermore, there is a need for good policies and reporting systems, as an important step towards addressing sexual abuse of the aged in a more appropriate way. Further research must aim to reveal more about this taboo area.