World Elder Abuse Day
World Elder Abuse Day

Abuse and Femicide of the Older Woman

Violence against women happens in the context of relationships.

This is what makes abuse so very painful and so very dangerous. Through our work and through research we know that abuse consists of behaviours or actions taken with the intent to harm and impact a woman’s sense of safety at home and in the larger community.

Senior women can experience much of the same tactics of power and control along with physical and sexual abuse that we see in all abusive relationships.

Women may experience violence for the first time in as seniors, or have been navigating an abusive relationship for decades.

Because every woman’s situation is unique to her we seek not to generalize.

Senior women who experience abuse are less likely to seek help.

  • Older women are more economically vulnerable than younger women, and they may fear poverty, homelessness, or loss of health care benefits if they report abusive behavior by a spouse or family member.
  • If an older woman is frail or dependent on others to provide physical care, she may fear being placed in a nursing home.
  • Even more than younger women, older women have been socialized to minimize their own identity, needs, and desires.
  • Older women are less likely to seek social or psychological services because many of them were brought up to believe that such help is a sign of weakness and failure.
  • Women abused by a spouse may not be willing to view separation or divorce as options because of stigma or an inability to envision life without a long-term spouse. They may believe that battering is an acceptable part of a relationship.


If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, BWSS is here 24/7.

We can help with:

  • safety planning
  • legal information and advocacy
  • transitional housing or housing advocacy
  • emotional support and support groups
  • accompaniment to hospital and/or police

Call us 24/7 to make an appointment to speak to a support worker 1-855-687-1868

Or email us at

Keep BWSS on the Front Line

Your gift makes it possible for us to stay on the frontline 24/7 to provide crisis support, counselling, support groups, legal advocacy, employment counselling, housing support and outreach.

More Resources

Not the ‘golden years’: Femicide of older women in Canada
by Myrna Dawson, PhD

Elder Abuse: It’s Time to Face the Reality
Public Health Agency of Canada

FEMICIDE Volume VIII: Abuse and Femicide of the Older Woman
Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) Vienna Liaison Office