Topic: Violence and abuse

A national prevalence survey of elderly individuals experience with violence in close relationships.

The prevalence survey of violence against the elderly is a nation-wide survey that utilizes a questionnaire concerning elderly women and men’s experience of violence, harassment and threats and how this correlates to their health and quality of life. This survey will collect data concerning the elderly’s contact and experience with assistance services and judicial system. This project is based on the prevalence study “Violence in Close Relationships” Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies (Report 1/2014) as well as two other European prevalence studies on elder abuse

2015 This project has been completed 2017

Project Manager

Project Members

Main objective

There has never been before a nation-wide survey that focused specifically on the senior population so there is limited information concerning violence against the elderly in Norway. Existing data is based upon a relatively small and selective sample.  The prevalence study from 2014 demonstrated the importance of examining violence and sexual abuse with a perspective of a lifetime and showed interesting results when focusing on factors like vulnerability and health consequences after exposure to violence. This project will examine if similar results are found within the elderly population. The main objective is to determine the prevalence of being exposed to violence before and after the age of 65.

Main objective

Assess the prevalence of violence in close relationships over a lifetime by asking individuals 66 years and older if they have exposed/subjected to violence before or after the age of 65, and if this exposure has taken place the past year.

It is also important to find out if elderly abuse victims contact assistance- and/ or police service in connection to the abuse, and to find out why not in cases where contact has not been established. This information is important for the following reasons; to illuminate the challenges of assisting in cases of elderly abuse, in the development of awareness campaigns both on a community and national level, and in the development of action plans with procedures for uncovering and intervening abuse.

Subsidiary objectives

  • Identify possible relationships between different types of violence and abuse experiences during childhood, adulthood and old age.
  • Identify possible relationships between experienced violence in close relationships and mental- and physical health.
  • Identify possible relationships amongst socioeconomic factors, supportive social network and the use of medical resources and the judicial system.
  • Compare the prevalence in Norway of elder abuse with relevant European studies.   


The survey has a cross sectional design. The questionnaires will be sent by mail via the postal services. A nationally representative selection will be selected from the National Register comprising of 5000 women and men in the age of 66 to 90 years of age and who reside in private households. In cases where the questionnaire has not been returned IPSOS (a surveying company) will telephone possible informants and offer them the opportunity to answer the questionnaire by phone.

Further information

This project is part of the “Violence in Close Relationships” program. This project is approved by the Norwegian Center for Research Data-NSD.        


Sandmoe, A. (2018). Eldre utsettes for overgrep – hva så.

Sandmoe, A., Wentzel-Larsen, T., & Hjemdal, O. K. (2017). Vold og overgrep mot eldre personer i Norge: En nasjonal forekomststudie. Oslo: Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter om vold og traumatisk stress. (Rapport 9/2017).

Sandmoe, A. (2016). Kommunale handlingsplaner mot vold i nære relasjoner – også for eldre utsatte? [Does municipal action plans against violence in close relationships include elderly victims?] Norwegian only. Oslo: Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter om vold og traumatisk stress. (Rapport 9/2016).