Older women living with disabilities face various forms of abuse, often underreported due to barriers like stigma and isolation.

This issue brief raises awareness about the structural disadvantages faced by older women (65+) with disabilities experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) in the areas of financial security, employment, and housing. Using literature and data from a Canadian and American context, this brief highlights the challenges and barriers faced by IPV survivors living at the intersections of gender, age, and disability.


As women age, they are more likely to be living in poverty than men. This disparity is due to several factors, including the gender wage gap and women being more likely to experience career disruptions, such as caring for loved ones. These factors contribute to a lack of personal income and savings available to women over the age of 55 and older. Older women may experience additional barriers to economic security in later life due to their experiences of gender-based violence, including economic abuse and employment sabotage.   

This project will raise awareness of the financial and social needs of women over the age of 55. Through collaboration with key stakeholders, including older women with lived experience and community agencies, the project will develop and deliver education and capacity building to improve awareness of family violence and intimate partner violence among different populations of older women. 

In Canada, one in three women report experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime, and data suggest that rates of IPV are as high if not higher among transgender and/or non-binary individuals compared to their cisgender counterparts. 

Survivors of IPV often seek counselling or psychotherapy to cope with the psychological costs of the abuse. However, many psychotherapists lack training in how to effectively respond to IPV, which can lead to survivors feeling unsupported and invalidated while abuse dynamics go undetected and unaddressed. 

Our research in partnership with the University of Toronto aims to investigate the experiences of survivors who have sought psychotherapy and/or counselling services for a mental health concern in Ontario. We will focus on the experiences of cisgender women, non-binary, and transgender adults over the age of 18. This community-based qualitative research will explore survivors’ subjective perceptions of counselling and/or psychotherapy, including the process of accessing services, participating in the therapeutic relationship, and the overall consequences for their mental health. The findings will inform policy initiatives and bolster training for mental health professionals to better meet the needs of this high-risk population. 

While trauma-informed practices have become more widely used across social services, the recognition of intersecting trauma and the integration of anti-racism remains a gap within and across sectors. Trauma from gender-based violence, community violence, and racism are compounded, and discrimination and fear of discrimination can be a barrier to accessing services. 

This project will enhance the capacity of organizations to respond to the needs of racialized women survivors of gender-based violence who are experiencing racism and trauma, by offering culturally safe frontline services. The project will collaborate with stakeholders to incorporate principles of anti-racism and trauma-informed practice, thereby improving service delivery and access for racialized survivors.

Housing is critical to survivors’ safety, and there are opportunities for housing providers and landlords to develop policies and practices to protect the tenancies and safety of survivors.

Survivors’ experiences with landlords and private rental housing are examined in this infographic, along with their preferred safety solutions. 


How can rental housing work better for survivors? Gender-based violence is a common cause of homelessness among women and gender-diverse people in Toronto and survivors face unique challenges to housing. 

This research report examines what it takes to support survivors as successful renters. The report contains findings from community-based research undertaken with women and gender-diverse people who have experienced gender-based violence and currently live in or are trying to access private rental housing in Toronto. The report shares their experiences and unique challenges to housing, including hidden homelessness, discrimination from landlords, and income insecurity. 


Survivors living in private rental housing are faring worse than other Toronto renters.

The infographic looks at the living conditions of survivors, financial limitations, and eviction related to gender-based violence and rental housing barriers. 


It can be difficult for older women to connect and find appropriate services and supports for their needs. This is because most services lack an understanding of older survivors’ needs and how to effectively support them. 

This infographic recommends strategies for agencies across sectors to build age-friendly and inclusive supports and services for older women experiencing violence.


Age and gender both significantly impact older women’s experiences of violence.

This infographic demonstrates the interplay of gender and age in many areas of an older woman’s life and how the intersection increases the risk of violence and limits their ability to seek help.   


Older women face disproportionate rates of violence in their communities and homes. This violence can be physical, emotional, economic, or sexual.

This infographic breaks down statistical information about violence against older women in Canada and highlights current data gaps.