Dr. Kelly Warren
Associate Professor and Program Chair
Department of Psychology, Grenfell Campus
Co-Investigators: Dr. Lindsay Malloy, University of Ontario Institutes of Technology; Dr. Sonja Brubacher, Griffith Criminology Institute, Griffin University
If anyone is interested in learning more about my research, participating, or would like to share research ideas, please contact me at
Dr. Warren was awarded a 2019 ARC-NL Research Grant for her project entitled,
Understanding Barriers to Reporting and Facilitating Disclosure of Maltreatment Among Older Adults
ARC-NL: What piqued your interest in this area of research?
While estimates suggest 10% of Canadians aged 65 or older experience maltreatment, only 20% of those who are victimized report it. This begs the question of why there is so little reporting. Given the aging nature of our population, the problem will only get worse. My education and research background has focused on assessing how best to get children to talk about abuse, and it is shocking to compare the amount of research focused on child versus older adult victims of maltreatment.
ARC-NL: Can you please provide a brief synopsis of your specific project?
I am completing research to determine what barriers exist and whether they vary according to abuse type, the identity of the perpetrator, and the gender of those involved. Individuals aged 65 and older are being presented with abuse scenarios and are being asked to indicate why they believe someone would choose not to report abuse in that specific circumstance. Additionally, I am interviewing individuals who work with/volunteer with older adults to get their perception of why older adults choose not to report and if they believe there are specific strategies to use in encouraging those being abused to report their experience.
ARC-NL: How did getting the support of the ARC-NL Research assist you with your project?
Without ARC-NL, my research would not be possible. Through their funding initiative, ARC-NL has allowed my collaborators and I to collect important preliminary data that we will be using to guide the development of practices that encourage those aged 65 and older to report maltreatment. Furthermore, ARC-NL has allowed me to establish connections with interested community members who are helping with the data collection process and helping us develop new lines of research inquiry.
ARC-NL: Is there any past experience that you feel is pertinent to your success today?
As noted above, my education and research experience has largely focused on ways of ensuring children are able to talk about experiences of maltreatment to ensure that guilty parties are punished, and innocent ones are not wrongfully convicted. The parallels between what is seen with child versus older adult victims make it clear that methods that have been used to encourage children to report have the potential to help older adults as well. I am not equating older adult victims with child victims, but where there are many studies assessing child victims, there are far fewer with older adults. I believe research with child victims gives us a starting point for determining how best to work with older adults who may be reluctant to talk about being maltreated.