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Recognizing in Public Policy the Issues of Older Women Facing Sexual Violence and Harassment - 2016

Category:EDUCATION
Sub-Category:SOCIAL - ABUSED WOMEN & CHILDREN/PORNOGRAPHY
Resolution Number:300.20.2
Club:North Toronto
Year:2016
Status:Open
Reaffirmed:
Comments:

BACKGROUND: BPW Ontario joins Elder Abuse Ontario’s advocacy to recognize, raise public and service provider awareness and address sexual violence and harassment faced by older women. There is lack of visibility of older women in the discourse surrounding the issue of violence and abuse. Recommended actions specific to older women include minimizing the risk of all forms of neglect, abuse and violence by increasing public awareness of, and protecting older women from, neglect, abuse and violence.
Several initiatives are being undertaken by the Ontario Women’s Directorate to raise awareness of sexual violence and harassment, enhance prevention initiatives to combat sexual discrimination, harassment and violence, and improve support for victims. In March 2015, Ontario Women’s Directorate published “It’s Never OK: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment. These initiatives are very welcome and could be enhanced by making sure that issues faced by older women are specifically mentioned and addressed in public service announcements and other strategies to develop general societal awareness and focused awareness of service providers and institutions who work directly with older women.
There is evidence from available data that older women are at greater risk of abuse and violence and of staying in abusive situations.4
“Older people are subject to a wide variety of stereotypes associated with helplessness, diminishing power and competence. Research has shown that many assailants seek out vulnerable people who they can easily overpower and manipulate. Although older people are not necessarily more vulnerable, these misconceptions make older people a target for violence. (National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, 1993).
Multiple-factors increase vulnerability: Older women are more economically vulnerable than younger women, and they may fear poverty, homelessness, or loss of being able to live at home if they report abusive behavior. Societally, the general public is more likely to be focused on this being an issue for younger women.
BPW Ontario proposes that strategies appropriate for older women be added to policy and actions on prevention of sexual violence and harassment.
United Nations. Neglect, Abuse and Violence Against Older Women. Division for Social Policy and Development
Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2013.
Mann R, Horsley P, Barrett C, Tinney J. 2014. Norma’s Project. A Research Study into the Sexual Assault of Older Women in Australia, (ARCSHS Monograph Series No. 8), Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

RESOLUTION: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, the Minister of Health and Long Term Care, and the Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs to develop policies and initiatives specific for older women under that banner of their response to sexual violence and harassment faced by the women of Ontario; FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED BPW Ontario urges the Government of Ontario, specifically the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues, the Minister of Health and Long Term Care, and the Minister Responsible for Seniors Affairs to ensure that issues facing older women with sexual violence and harassment be part of any public awareness campaigns currently funded.

 

©BPW Ontario www.bpwontario.com

Article ID: 4379

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