There is confusion between sexual violence in later life and elder abuse which can result in survivors “falling between the cracks of both systems.
Elder abuse or sexual violence?
1. Gender based harm? 59 under
Response: Sexual – Safety plans, crisis intervention, emergency housing, counselling, risk assessment.
2. Elder Abuse? 60+
Response: Safeguarding – Survivors portrayed as vulnerable In need of Medical care, social care, care plans.
• There is sometimes Conceptualisation is important
• Elder abuse – gender neutral – issue is ‘age’
• Responses focused on age rather than gender/abuse e.g. support for ‘stressed’ caregiver, family counselling etc.
• Portrayed as a health issue
•‘elder abuse’ confuses existing definitions – why DV at 59 but EA at 60?
•Currently seen as either adult safeguarding (elder abuse) or DV issue – in reality needs to be both
•Issues with filtering through to police – low reporting •
Sexual & domestic violence is gender based violence, the number of women it affects is disproportionate. The term ‘elder abuse’ is usually gender blind and relies on a narrow definition of violence, unable to see the dynamics of gender and power. Neither approach is satisfying – Need to account for intersections of gender and other factors such as race and class.