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Seminar: Older women – invisible victims of gender based violence and abuse

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Date(s) - 23 Nov 2016
1:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Price range

Location Allen & Overy LLP Offices One Bishops Square London E1 6AD United Kingdom



Gender based violence and abuse amongst older women can be overlooked by health and social care providers. When women become ‘older’ their gender seems to be forgotten or becomes hidden. This means that older women’s experiences of gender based violence are often not recognised or responded to. However, the likelihood of gender based abuse increases significantly in older age.

  • 500,000 older people are believed to be abused at any one time in the UK, with most victims of elder abuse being older women with a chronic illness or disability, according to statistics provided by the NHS.
  • The Counting Dead Women project shows that of those women killed, most of the women aged over 60 were killed by a male family member, either a spouse or a son/grandson.

Against the backdrop of the UK’s ageing population, it is fundamental that health and social care professionals are able to both identify gender based violence and abuse and understand the particular experiences and needs of older women.

  • Older women suffering from domestic and sexual violence are often afraid of seeking help and they are less likely to report crimes.
  • According to SafeLives research, older women are less likely to leave in the year before accessing help, and more likely to be living with the perpetrator after getting support.
  • Older women face particular obstacles to disclosure and help-seeking, which have not been adequately acknowledged and are not sufficiently understood or provided for.

This seminar will create a much needed to space to talk about the experience of older victims and survivors and consider how to create services and systems that meet their needs. It will bring together researchers, commissioners, policy makers and practitioners to explore the specific challenges faced by older women in regard to gender based violence and abuse.

The seminar will begin with a light lunch and an opportunity to network before the presentation and discussion begin.

Seminar objectives

  • Raise awareness of the prevalence of gender based abuse of older women in the UK and share good practice about work being done on this issue.
  • Identify the specific challenges faced by older women victims of domestic and sexual violence and the different dimensions age brings to gender based violence, for example the increased likelihood of caring responsibilities or adult child to parent violence.
  • Identify ways to support older women victims of domestic and sexual violence.
  • Identify gaps in support and services and make initial recommendations to improve.


  • Bridget Penhale, Reader in Mental Health, School of Health Sciences, University of East Anglia
  • Monsura Mahmud, Domestic Abuse Prevention Adviser, Solace Women’s Aid Silver Project
  • Sarah Wydall & Rebecca Zek, Choice Project – ‘Building justice options with older people’, Aberystwyth University
  • Richard Powley, Head of Safeguarding, Age UK

Who is the Seminar for?

The seminar is for frontline workers, practitioners, policy makers, service users, researchers and commissioners. Light refreshments will be provided. 


Bookings are closed for this event.

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