Diane Fleet 




Intimate Partner violence is a 

pattern of coercive control that an 
abuser uses to exert or maintain 
power and control over their 


“Domestic Violence Grown Old”– situations where 
violence started earlier in life and persists into old age.   


“Late onset Domestic Violence”--violence beginning in 
later life may be exacerbated by:  



Changing roles of family members 

Sexual changes 

Late life new intimate relationships


Every year an estimated 2.1 million older Americans 
are victims of physical, psychological and other 
forms of abuse and neglect. 

In approximately 90% of cases, perpetrators of 
abuse in later life are family members. 

Research suggests that elders who have been 
abused are more likely to die earlier than those not 
living with abuse.  (NCADV statistics) 

Several hypotheses of the cause of abuse in later life 
have been studied. Some studies reviewed found 
power and control dynamics similar to those 
experienced by younger battered women also to be 
prevalent in later life (Harris, 1996; Pillemer and 
Finkelhor, 1988). 

The popular notion that abuse in later life is 
primarily caused by stressed caregivers, who abuse 
frail, dependent elderly, is NOT supported by the 
research (Phillips et al., 2000; Pillemer and Finkelhor 
1988, 1989; Reis and Nahmiash, 1997, 1998



What are your thoughts????? 

grew up in an era when divorce was frowned 

lack the skills to seek and find gainful employment  

may have health/functional problems that restrict 

serve as the caregivers to abusive partners whom 
they feel they cannot leave because of a sense of 
loyalty, their marriage vows, and family solidarity  

are being cared for by the abusive caregiver  

may split family solidarity  

have no independent source of income 


have lost family members and friends through death  

have been isolated from family members and friends  

may antagonize children  

lack a sense of self-worth  

have no experience dealing with financial or legal 

have become resigned to a pattern of living that has 
gone on for decades  

are unable to realize that there may be choices 


lack of opportunities for employment and economic self-

loss of feelings of self-worth  

loss of pension and financial rewards brought to the 
marriage by the partner  

alienation of children's affection  

loss of a caregiver  

loss of a place that has been home for decades  

fear of going into a nursing home as an alternative  

transgression of marriage vows  

long-term obligation to a sick partner