‘You Can’t Do That!’ The Sexual Assault of Older Women in Australia
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In 2014, the Australian Department of Social Services funded a national project on the sexual assault of older women. This research, known as ‘Norma’s Project’, analysed data from interviews and surveys involving 90 family members and service providers from the justice, health, aged care and community sectors. The sexual assault of older women is a hidden issue that is under-reported and under-researched. This chapter includes a discussion of current statistics and relevant literature and will be structured around the key findings: sexual assaults of older women occur in a range of contexts (relationships to victim) and settings (private homes, aged care facilities, healthcare services, public places); case studies which illustrate the diversity of vulnerabilities among women, the range of perpetrators involved, and the inadequacy of responses from professionals; the improvements required in community awareness, professional education, service protocols and policy focus to address this important issue.
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