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NCPOP Seminar - 'Intimate Partner Violence and Older Women, future findings and ongoing challanges'



This presentation will consider the position of older women who are subject to abuse and abusive situations: predominantly within domestic settings. Some older women are subject to domestic violence in later life. They may be in a longstanding abusive relationship or in a relationship, which has become abusive in old age. Older women are subject to a range of different forms of abuse such as financial abuse, neglect or exploitation, as well as psychological and emotional abuse, physical and sexal abuse.

I will explore the links between elder abuse and intimate partner violence - similarities, differences and possible ways forward and will introduce the concept of "Triple jeopardy" of older women who experience abuse. The overall context will be that of the continuing marginalisation of older women.

Recent findings from research in this field will be explored and some of the ongoing developments, including potential strategies of intervention, which might be used to empower older women who experience abuse and abusive situations, will be examined.

Bio Summary

Bridget Penhale is currently Reader in Mental Health of Older People at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK. With a first degree in psychology, she has been qualified as a social worker since 1981. Bridget has specialised in work with older people since 1983, and worked in urban, rural and city areas in addition to hospitals. After a successful career as social worker and manager spanning some 15 years, she took up an academic post at the University of Hull (UK) in 1996, moving to Sheffield in 2004. Bridget took up her current post at UEA, Norwich in October 2010.

She is past Chair of the British Association of Social Worker's Community Care Sub-Committee, and former Vice-Chair of Action on Elder Abuse and independent co-chair of the Hull Domestic Violence Forum, a multi-agency network to develop responses to domestic violence (predominantly of women).

Bridget is a member of the UK National Social Care Research Ethics Committee and a Board member of the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA). Bridget is recognised nationally in the UK for her work on adult protection and internationally for her work on elder abuse. In 2010 she received the International Rosalie Wolf Award for her work in the field of elder abuse research and practice.

Bridget has published material on decision-making and mentally incapacitated adults and extensively on elder abuse. Her publications include 12 books and 23 book chapters as well as numerous journal papers and reports. Bridget’s research interests include elder abuse, adult protection/safeguarding and domestic violence. She was the Principal Investigator of a Department of Health funded research project on Adult Protection (2004-2007) and provided project management to the UK prevalence study on Elder Abuse in community settings. She also acted as Scientific Advisor to a Department of Health funded Research Initiative on Abuse, neglect and lack of dignity in institutional care settings for older people. Bridget has recently been involved in a number of other research projects on elder abuse and adult protection, including several European initiatives on different aspects of elder abuse. (The main EU-projects she has been involved in concern the topic of Intimate Partner Violence and Older Women, which have been taking place in 6 different European countries).