Presentation on theme: "BC Yukon Society of Transition Houses. Any woman may be subject to violence regardless of her ability to access systems, and/or her social or economic."— Presentation transcript:
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.
“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)
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 abuse is the root of violence against both younger and older women. Older women experience all forms of violence.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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)
Phase 1 BC and Yukon Research and Needs Assessment
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 services re: violence against women The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 1 (cont’d)
Outreach to older women in BC and the 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 The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 1 (cont’d)
64 life stories were submitted through interpretation, telephone interview, and mail Women said they appreciated: Help with safety planning Counselling Support groups Advocacy 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 their ability to be safe and access services 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 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 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 and are trained in supporting older women re: abuse) The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 1 (cont’d)
Phase 2 BC and Yukon Pilot New Services to Respond to Older Women’s Needs
Four communities selected to pilot services for older women: Victoria, BC Penticton, BC Creston, BC Whitehorse, Yukon 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 The Silent and Invisible Project – Phase 2 (cont’d)
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…
1 year leases up to three years Independent, supportive, and affordable housing for women 45-65 years Harrison Place, Victoria, BC
30 day – 6 month stays (free) Supportive transition house for older women 55+ yrs. Ama House, White Rock, BC
Pamphlet and Brochure Older Abused Women Report "Silent and Invisible“ Silent and Invisible: What's Age Got to 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
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
BC Yukon Society of Transition Houses www.bcysth.ca 1-604-669-6943 x224