National Women's Health Policy

Older women and violence

Page last updated: 07 February 2011

In the post-menopausal years, violence against women, while increasing, is still underreported. 337 By 2005 the proportion of older women reporting physical violence in the past 12 months had increased to 25 per cent.338 Elder abuse is a complex issue that occurs in institutions, as well as in homes, and women in care can be abused by their formal carers. Approximately 2–3 per cent of Australian women in their early 70s experience physical abuse, and 3–8 per cent experience psychological abuse.339 Planning for the potential increase in these figures is required.340

A study of 2,620 Australian respondents aged 50 to 90 years found that, as women age, those on lower incomes were more likely than others to say they needed to learn how to discourage violence against them. The study’s findings highlight the importance of understanding women’s fear in the context of personal and social issues, and the need to provide learning opportunities to improve safety and social engagement.341