October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month; Challenges For Older Victims of Late Life Domestic Abuse Compound The Problem

By Giving Hope ArizonaOctober 4, 2017

Domestic violence has no age limit.  Late life domestic abuse impacts adults 50 and over and victims face complicated obstacles seeking safety and resources.           

The Area Agency Aging will put a spotlight on the issue during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October through a series of presentations to community agencies and at senior centers as well as by participating in events throughout the month.

“Domestic violence doesn’t respect age,” said Area Agency on Aging President and CEO Mary Lynn Kasunic.  “And, the challenges older adults face in addressing the problem only make the situation worse.”

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.  Extrapolating that number for Arizona means that more than 800,000 women and more than 450,000 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime.

The Area Agency on Aging responded to the issue by creating the DOVES program, the nation’s premier program providing services to adults 50 and over including emergency and transitional housing, weekly support groups at three Maricopa County locations, safety planning, applying for benefits, job placement and learning to cope with the emotional impact of abuse.

Since 2003, the DOVES transitional housing program has served more than 150 victims of late life domestic abuse and its Mobile Advocacy Program has served 445 victims since its inception in 2016.

The Area Agency and the DOVES program are recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month with the following activities:

  • More than 10 “Domestic Violence Doesn’t Respect Age” presentations to community agencies and senior centers.
  • Participating in the third annual Domestic Violence Awareness Event, “Lighting Arizona Purple,” on October 2 with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey at the state Capitol.
  • Encouraging staff and the community to wear purple on National Wear Purple Day on Oct. 19.

For more information, visit www.aaaphx.org.  For immediate assistance, call the 24-Hour Senior HELP LINE at (602) 264-4357 (HELP).