Social Policy and Society

Themed Section on ‘Harm’, ‘Abuse’, Agency and Resilience Across the Lifespan

Abuse and Protection Issues across the Lifespan: Reviewing the Literature

Fiona Johnsona1, James Hogga2 and Brigid Daniela1

a1 Department of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling E-mail:

a2 White Top Research Unit, University of Dundee


The literature is reviewed: (a) comparing models of abuse and protection applied at each stage of the lifespan; and (b) exploring abuse and protection issues with respect to individuals over time. A paucity of comparative and lifespan work in the field of abuse and protection is reported. Within the available literature, different types of knowledge are drawn upon and contrasted definitions of ‘abuse’ and ‘protection’ employed. Accordingly, the most significant findings of the review are in the dissonances and the gaps surrounding the substantive findings. Examples are presented to demonstrate this, while new directions for discussion and research are proposed.