Defining Abuse in Older Women: Voices of the Professionals in Elder Abuse and Domestic Violence
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Women in their later years’ experience abuse from their intimate partner.
This abuse can be ‘domestic violence grown old’ or ‘abuse in later life’. Two service
systems in the public sector respond to these women-adult protective services and
domestic violence programs. This chapter compares how elder abuse investigators and
domestic violence workers identify intimate partner violence among older abused
women by an intimate partner served at their respective agencies in a major urban city.
The research study collected qualitative data from interviews of seven elder abuse
investigators and nine domestic violence workers describes how they define and
contrast elder abuse versus domestic violence. Both systems serving the older woman
experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) define domestic violence similarly. Entry
into the systems can be based on mandate of the system rather than the needs of the
client. Older women experiencing IPV require the expertise of each system. With
strong leadership from both professions, the establishment of collaborative
mechanisms, and cross training opportunities, the older woman facing harm from her
partner will be served more effectively.
Abuse in later life, Adult protective services, Domestic violence,
Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work 820 North Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60611, USA.