The Hidden Experiences of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in Older Women

Social Work Practice and Research Considerations


  • Tori Lewis University of Windsor


Intimate partner violence, social policy, older women, service utilization


How older women experience intimate partner violence (IPV) differs from their younger counterparts, given possible increased vulnerability, health difficulties, and cultural and social contexts. There is extensive research into the impact of IPV on younger women and women of reproductive age. However, for older women there are significant gaps in research into older survivors’ exposure to IPV, into screening and assessment tools, and into effective social work interventions that support the unique needs of this demographic. The term of ‘older women’ refers to women who are 50 years and older due to their distinct experiences with violence and abuse (Meyer et al., 2020). This paper aims to explore the current literature about older women who are IPV survivors and the barriers they face with service utilisation. The specific implications for social work practice regarding the gaps in research and provision of services is explored further. The discussion of social work practice and research implications related to older women IPV survivors is specific to the Canadian context. Lastly, the author provides personal commentary from both their practice experiences within the social work field in conjunction with relevant research to promote awareness of this critical issue with the hopes of instigating social justice and change.



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