Fear of crime among older persons

Project period

2004 – 2007

Project staff

Dr. Thomas Görgen (Projektleitung)

Dr. Sandra Herbst


Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend

Cooperation partner

Prof. Dr. W. Greve, University of Hildesheim

Prof. Dr. C. Tesch-Römer, Deutsches Zentrum für Altersfragen

Project description

The study of victimisation experienced by elderly people in their everyday lives and environments was partly based on the 1992 KFN victim survey. It was designed to provide comparison data following an interval of more than ten years while taking a new substantive and methodological focus. A notable new area of attention was violence and victimisation experienced by elderly people receiving care at home. In light of the specific problems surrounding institutional care, the study focused exclusively on people living in private households. The project comprised two methodologically different partial studies which were linked in terms of content.

Module 1, on victimisation, perceptions of safety and fear of crime among people living in private households in their everyday home lives and environments, is based on the 1992 KFN victim survey in modified form and with greater emphasis on people of very advanced age. The new survey was conducted as a combination of standardised face-to-face interviews and a written drop-off questionnaire (the latter focusing on victimisation experiences in social surroundings). In addition to collecting data on current prevalence rates, the survey primarily focused on analysing risk and protection factors, dealing with victimisation, crime perception, risk perception, and fear and its consequences for everyday life and personal victimisation risk.

Module 2, on victimisation in the context of care at home, relied heavily on a qualitative approach and the use of standardised questionnaires to address the hard-to-investigate subject of abuse and neglect of people being cared for at home by relatives or mobile care services. The study design featured a dual methodological strategy consisting of qualitative interviews with key individuals involved in domestic care arrangements (people in need of care, family carers, and mobile care service staff) and a standardised written survey of carers.

The surveys primarily targeted unreported victimisation and were supplemented with analyses of victimisation experienced by elderly people based on crime statistics and relevant case files.

Project related publications