Sexual Violence Against Older Women in the UK
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It is now universally accepted that violence against women is a pervasive global health problem, violating the human rights of millions of women each year. Traditionally, older people have been viewed as low risk for criminal victimisation. Consequently, the majority of theories, policies and practices concerning crime and, more specifically violence and abuse, have been developed to address crime experienced by young people. In the context of violence against women, research has indicated older women experience domestic and sexual violence at lower rates than younger women. Separately, however, research has indicated that older people do experience violence and abuse. This work has developed under the ‘elder abuse’ paradigm and can be traced back to the 1970s, with a rapid growth over the last two decades. Despite this evidence, research examining sexual violence within a feminist/violence against women framework is limited. This chapter uses evidence gained from the first UK-wide study of sexual violence against older people to illustrate the importance of examining gender and age, as well as other social and cultural identities, to develop understanding of this hidden group.
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