Dr. Holly Ramsey-Klawsnik is a sociologist researcher, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, and Licensed Certified Social Worker, Klawsnik & Klawsnik Associate, Canton, MA. She has provided clinical services to older adults and adults with disabilities and conducted forensic victim evaluations for court systems. She has presented continuing education programs for Adult Protective Services systems, regulatory and law enforcement agencies, health care providers, the judiciary, and domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions. Her research and practice have focused on investigating alleged abuse of older persons, interviewing skills, casework intervention and supervision, mental health and mental capacity, domestic violence and sexual assault in later life, and victimization in facilities. She has authored journal articles, book chapters, training curricula, technical assistance materials, and professional reports and training manuals. Her work on federal projects includes those funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Health, National Institute of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, and Office on Violence Against Women. She is Research and Clinical Consultant for the National Adult Protective Services Association, a Content Expert on the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse Polyvictimization in Later Life Project, and an Advisory Board Member for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Areas of Expertise (6)
Research regarding social services assessment & intervention
Author of over 100 publications including journal articles, book chapters, training manuals, Technical Assistance materials, professional reports
Licensed Certified Social Worker and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (professional)
Licensed as a social worker and clinical psychotherapist.
Co-Principle Investigator, The Study of Sexual Abuse in Care Facilities (professional)
Served as Co-Principle Investigator with Dr. Pamela Teaster of "The Study of Sexual Abuse of Vulnerable Adults in Care Facilities." This study was funded by the US National Institute on Aging. Multiple publications provide the findings including: Ramsey-Klawsnik, H., Teaster, P., Mendiondo, M., Marcum, J. & Abner, E. (2008). Sexual predators who target elders: Findings from the first national study of sexual abuse in care facilities. Journal of Elder Abuse & Neglect, 20(4), 353 – 376.
Director of Research, National Adult Protective Services Association (professional)
Served as Director of Research for the 2014-2016 National Adult Protective Services Resource Center funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services. This was a project of the National Adult Protective Services Association. The project provided technical assistance to Adult Protective Services programs nationwide to improve secondary violence prevention initiatives to older and vulnerable adults.
Boston University: Ph.D., Sociology & Applied Social Science 1985
Boston University: Certificate in the Study of Aging, Aging 1997
- Researcher & Clinician Klawsnik & Klawsnik Associates Canton MA
- National Adult Protective Services Association Research & Clinical Consultant
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center Advisory Council Member
- National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse Polyvictimization in Later Life Team Member
Media Appearances (1)
The Truth Behind Elder Rape
The Daily Best online
That head-in-the-sand mentality may be why statistics on elder rape and assault are so hard to come by. One of the only figures available comes from a 2009 study funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which found that just over half of 1 percent of Americans over 60 reported forcible sexual intercourse or molestation within the previous year (PDF). That’s fairly low, although it would still amount to thousands of cases nationwide. But experts agree that, in the words of Ramsey-Klawsnik, “there are just no good incidence studies.” Why? According to Joan Cook, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine who studies violence in elderly populations, until about 10 years ago, no one was even asking whether older women were victims of these crimes. “It’s crazy: Women over 65 weren’t even included in these studies.” And even now, she adds, there is little data on this subject that has been analyzed...
Featured Articles (6)
The sexual victimization of older women living in nursing homesJournal of elder abuse & neglect
2015 This study examined 64 cases of sexual victimization of women ages 65+(mean= 81) living in facilities that were investigated by APS and regulatory agencies in five states over a six-month period. Typically, abuse involved molestation (53%) and unwelcome sexual ...
Informing Evidence-Based Practice: A Review of Research Analyzing Adult Protective Services DataJournal of elder abuse & neglect
2014 The mission of Adult Protective Services (APS) is to protect older and vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The complexity of APS cases and the potential for life-changing interventions point to the need for research that examines and evaluates APS ...
Providing services to people assaulted in care facilitiesReshape-The Newsletter of the Sexual Assault Coalition Resource Sharing Project
2013 Sexual assault interventionists rarely receive training in responding to the needs of people who live in care facilities. Furthermore, they rarely receive requests to assist older adults who reside in nursing homes or similar facilities. Consider, however, the potential impact ...
Sexual Abuse Happens in Healthcare Facilities—What Can Be Done To Prevent It?Generations
2012 Adult Protective Services (APS) workers were interviewed regarding investigating reported sexual abuse of healthcare facility residents. Authorities in five states provided data on cases of facility sexual abuse investigated over six-months. Data were collected and ...
The sexual revolution's last frontier: how silence about sex undermines health, well-being, and safety in old ageGenerations
2012 Our ageist attitudes toward sex in old age impede the quality of life and the detection and prevention of elder sexual abuse. When sexual abuse is alleged or suspected, responders rarely ask the right questions or take the appropriate steps to assist victims, preserve ...
Sexual Violence in Later Life Information PacketNational Sexual Violence Resource Center
2010 Sexual violence can affect individuals across the life span, including people in later life. The NSVRC has created a series of new resources related to sexual violence in later life. The Sexual Violence in Later Life Information Packet was developed by Holly Ramsey-Klawsnik, Phd, in conjunction with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. The packet includes the following: fact sheet, technical assistance bulletin, technical assistance guide, resource list, annotated bibliography, research brief, and an online collection.