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Silent and Invisible: Best Practice Approaches to Supporting Older Women. BC Yukon Society of Transition Houses. Nature of Abuse.

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silent and invisible best practice approaches to supporting older women

Silent and Invisible:Best Practice Approaches to Supporting Older Women

BC Yukon Society of Transition Houses

nature of abuse
Nature of Abuse
  • Any woman may be subject to violence regardless of her ability to access systems, and/or her social or economic status, ability, Aboriginal, citizenship/nationalities, class, education, ethnicity, experience of colonization, gender, geographic location, health, occupation, refugee/immigrant status, religion, and sexuality. We acknowledge that this is not exhaustive.
the united nations defines violence against women as
The United Nations defines violence against women as:
  • “Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.” (United Nations 1993)
slide4

What’s Age

Got To Do With It?

is violence against older women any different than violence against younger women
Is violence against older womenany different than violence against younger women?

WELL…

  • Violence against women is gendered violence.
  • Women ages 50-79 are shown to be exposed to abuse at similar rates to young women (Mouton, C.P. et al, ‘04)
  • Exerting power and control over a victim of abuseis the root of violence against both youngerandolder women. Older women experience allforms of violence.
stats show
Stats show…
  • 60% of “elder abuse” is towards women.
  • More older women are victims of abuse and more men are abusers. 80% of the people accused of violently victimizing an older family member were men. (Statistics Canada, 2000)
what are the differences then
What are the differences then?

Young women

  • Improvements have been made, shifting violence against women from a private matter to a public concern that is criminal that calls for intervention.

Older women

  • “Elder abuse” is often used to describe violence against older women and does not accurately represent the violence older women experience. Violence and abuse against older women that is criminal is often disregarded as such.
more differences
More differences…

Young women

  • Most existing women’s services and research on violence against women reflect younger women and women with children and services are tailored to meet these women’s needs.
more differences1
More differences…

Older women

  • Although older women’s experience of abuse may be similar to that of younger women, their needs are uniquely different.
  • Older women are typically expected to use services geared for younger women, as few specialized services exist.
more differences2
More differences…

Older women (cont’d)

  • Research of abuse of older women is still quite limited.
  • Older women are three times less likely to report abuse than younger women. (Harris, 1996)
the silent and invisible project
The Silent and Invisible Project

Phase 1

BC and Yukon Researchand Needs Assessment

slide12

The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 1 (cont’d)

Survey of transition houses

  • Under-representation: Only 2% of those accessing transition houses were women aged 60+ years, and only 6% were 50-59 years

Survey of health and women’s services providers

  • Lack of coordinated response between service providers re: abuse of older women
  • Lack of information in transition houses re: effects of ageing, and in health servicesre: violence against women
slide13

The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 1 (cont’d)

Outreach to older women in BC andthe Yukon experiencing abuse

  • Awareness campaign
  • Call for older women to submit their life stories re: abuse via phone (toll free number) or via mail
  • Distribution of brochures in large font that offered information and referrals to older women
slide14

The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 1 (cont’d)

64 life stories were submitted throughinterpretation, telephone interview, and mail

Women said they appreciated:

  • Help with safety planning
  • Counselling
  • Support groups
  • Advocacy
slide15

The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 1 (cont’d)

64 Life Stories

  • Transition houses were too stressful an environment (loud, children, constantly changing, etc.)
  • They thought TH’s were only for young women with children
  • They often wanted to be safer, but did not want to leave their home or relationship (e.g. after 20+ years)
  • That social and geographical isolation, poverty, housing, health and ageism all impacted theirability to be safe and access services
slide16

The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 1 (cont’d)

64 Life Stories (cont’d)

Older women:

  • Needed more time to build trust with workers
  • Had more complex problems than younger women
  • Had fewer resources than younger women
  • May have experienced or been exposed to abuse throughout their lives:
    • As children
    • In residential schools as First Nations
    • At the hands of their husbands or partners
    • At the hands of their adult children
slide17

The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 1 (cont’d)

64 Life Stories (cont’d)

Older women:

  • Who immigrate to Canada and are sponsored by partners or adult children are often very vulnerable to abuse and have little ability to leave or seek out services due to language and other barriers
slide18

The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 1 (cont’d)

Older Women Said They Needed:

  • Safety planning
  • Respite from the abuse
  • Options for safe housing
  • Circles of support (e.g. with service providers and among peers)
  • More accessible services (e.g. outreach and staff and services that seek to address ageism andare trained in supporting older women re: abuse)
the silent and invisible project1
The Silent and Invisible Project

Phase 2

BC and Yukon Pilot New Services to Respond to Older Women’s Needs

slide20

The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 2 (cont’d)

  • Four communities selected to pilot services for older women:
    • Victoria, BC
    • Penticton, BC
    • Creston, BC
    • Whitehorse, Yukon
slide21

The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 2 (cont’d)

  • Training for specialized transition house outreach workers (OWL’s or Older Women Liaisons)
  • Safe homes created
  • Older women’s support groups started
slide22
NOW…
  • All pilot sites continue to offer specialized services to older women
  • New communities have started their own initiatives re: older women and existing communities have expanded their services…
slide24

Harrison Place, Victoria, BC

  • 1 year leases up to three years
  • Independent, supportive, and affordable housingfor women 45-65 years
slide25

Ama House, White Rock, BC

  • 30 day – 6 month stays (free)
  • Supportive transition house for older women 55+ yrs.
resources available from the bc yukon society of transition houses re supporting older women
Resources Available from the BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses re: supporting older women
  • Pamphlet and Brochure
  • Older Abused Women Report "Silent and Invisible“
  • Silent and Invisible: What's Age Gotto Do with It? *A handbook for service providers on working with abused older women in BC and the Yukon
  • What’s Age Got to Do with It? * video and study guide
resources available from the bc yukon society of transition houses re supporting older women cont d
Resources Available from the BC/Yukon Society of Transition Houses re: supporting older women (cont’d)
  • Developing Support Groups for Older Abused Women
  • How to Establish Specialized Refuge and Support Services for Older Abused Women
  • Working With Abused Older Women: Guidelines and Resources
contact us for more information at
Contact us for more information at:

BC Yukon Society of Transition Houses

www.bcysth.ca

1-604-669-6943 x224