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LGBTQ Pride Month

This Pride month marks five years since the Supreme Court Windsor decision, and three years since Obergefell v. Hodges, which gave full marriage equality in all states and territories. While this is a significant advancement, the rash of new proposed laws and the Supreme Court rulings in recent years, even recent weeks, show that we have not achieved full equality under the law. 

Unfortunately, one place where there is full parity is the experience of abuse. In a 2015 report, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs showed that “Intimate Partner Violence within LGBTQ and HIV affected communities exists in concert with and is exacerbated by the broader forms of anti-LGBTQ and other forms of bias and discrimination that survivors experience. This is especially true for LGBTQ survivors with multiple marginalized identities, such as LGBTQ survivors of color, LGBTQ undocumented survivors, and LGBTQ survivors with disabilities.”

For older adults who are LGBTQ there is a knowledge of what was and how one had to function to survive oppression, arrest or institutionalization As recent as 1991, in my state of Virginia, it was still illegal to serve alcohol to a known “homosexual.” The state’s law reads “… a bar’s license may be suspended or revoked if the bar has become a meeting place and rendezvous for users of narcotics, drunks, homosexuals, prostitutes, pimps, panderers, gamblers or habitual law violators….”

For many LGBTQ older adults this is not just history but also the reality. When your abuser is your intimate partner or adult child it is often far scarier to call the local law enforcement or even reach out to domestic or sexual assault programs. When in the middle of a trauma it is difficult to educate service providers about your issues and needs, and even harder if  your recent memory of interaction with law enforcement involved getting arrested for being who you are. 

This is explained by the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging  and Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) in their resource guide: “Despite the fact that we live in a time of tremendous social change and increasing visibility and inclusion of LGBT people, it is important to remember that today’s LGBT older adults came of age in an era that was far less affirming of their identities. For some, their true sexual orientations and gender identities were dangerous secrets that could result in loss of work, housing, and family, as well as the stigma of being labeled as criminals, sinners, and mentally ill. History taught this generation that hiding— presenting as heterosexual and gender conforming—was the key to physical, social, and financial survival. Therefore, many LGBT older people greatly feared association with a more open LGBT community, a feeling some hold to this day.” 

Has your agency done its homework to be welcoming and inclusive of older LGBTQ adults? Here are some questions to consider:

  • What is your outreach to the LGBTQ community?
  • How does your agency let the LGBTQ community know they are educated about the issues of your local LGBTQ community and have addressed the barriers that make accessing the services difficult?
  • Do your promotional materials feature older adults of all types of races, nationalities, genders, and orientations?
  • Is your staff and board reflective of the community in which you live?

The following are some resources with relevant information on working with LGBTQ communities:

We have much to celebrate and yet there is much work to do! This Pride month we invite you to show your support and pride.  

Happy Pride! 

Lisa and the NCALL staff


Lisa G. Furr is a Program Manager for the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life.

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As we celebrate 2018 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I find myself proudly looking back on the year and on our many efforts at the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) to further our mission of fostering a collaborative, inclusive, survivor-centered response to abuse in later life. I want to share some of that progress with you. Over the past year, NCALL has:

  • Supported grantees of the Office on Violence Against Women’s Abuse in Later Life grant program to train criminal justice systems professionals and victim services providers and other professionals, to create or enhance a coordinated community response to abuse in later life, and to provide effective victim services to older survivors in their local communities.
  • Collaborated with the VERA Institute of Justice’s Center on Victimization and Safety, the Office for Victims of Crime, and many other project partners to help to co-create the new National Center for Reaching Victims (Center). The aim of the Center is to enhance services and resources for older survivors and other underserved populations of crime victims.
  • Elevated the voices of older victims through our Lifting Up Voices of Older Survivors video project. Through this project, we will create educational videos for professionals and community members. The videos will focus the lived experiences of older victims and help build the capacity of a range of professionals, who work with older victims of abuse.

I am excited about the work we have done at NCALL and where we can go in the years to come through hard work, partnership, and with an unwavering focus on centering older victims who live at the margins of the margins.

Author and social critic, James Baldwin, once said of the struggle for dignity, equality, and racial justice:

One can give nothing whatever without giving of oneself – that is to say, risking oneself. If one cannot risk oneself, then one is simply incapable of giving. And, after all, one can give freedom by setting someone free.”

In an increasing challenging environment, we, as a field, must ask the critical question of what we can give of ourselves to older victims who live a daily struggle for dignity and justice. As communities of color, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ individuals, people with disabilities, and many other historically marginalized individuals encounter increasing and compounding oppression and xenophobia, we must fix our vision and our efforts on doing all that we can to advance the cause of justice for all older victims, especially those who are the most marginalized.

As we continue to labor in service of our vision of a society which respects all older adults, we must constantly inquire and analyze what we are risking, what more we can risk, and for whom we must risk more in the quest for a world where all forms of oppression are dismantled and older victims from all communities live free from abuse. Each day we do our work, NCALL joins with those who are answering this call for critical analysis.

On this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I offer my commitment to continuing to push for the dignity of older victims and the concurrent and the inextricably related struggle for equity and justice. I also offer NCALL’s unwavering support for those working on behalf of older victims and for a vision of a better future for all.

In solidarity,

Juanita & the NCALL team


Juanita Davis, J.D., is a Program Manager for the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life.

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On June 7, 2018,  NCALL and the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) hosted a 90-minute webinar in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This webinar featured a 50-minute international conversation between Bonnie Brandl (United States), Dr. Jane Mears (Australia), Bridget Penhale (United Kingdom), and Laura Tamblyn Watts (Canada), as well as a discussion of new work, resources, and funding opportunities. Use the links below to access the full 90-minute webinar recording and its resource materials. You can also view the 50-minute international conversation alone by choosing the corresponding link below.

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization  at the United Nations as a way for communities to raise awareness of elder abuse and neglect around the world. By setting aside a day, June 15, to focus on the cultural, social, economic, and demographic factors that contribute to the abuse and neglect of older adults, we hope to reduce or eliminate the astounding human and financial costs of abuse in later life.

Check out our WEAAD planning sheet to find ideas for raising awareness and supporting older survivors on June 15 and throughout the year. For additional ideas on how you can take action and to locate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day events near you, we invite you to visit the Administration for Community Living, National Center on Elder Abuse, and USC Center on Elder Mistreatment World Elder Abuse Awareness Day microsite at:

New Training and Educational Resources!
This June, we're making it even easier to learn about elder abuse and the unique issues facing older adults and survivors of abuse. In conjunction with WEAAD, we are pleased to release three new Training of Trainers (TOT) Modules to round out our Trainers' Toolkit. The modules, featuring NCALL Director, Bonnie Brandl, aim to provide trainers with tips and strategies to lead successful training events. The Trainers' Toolkit also features PowerPoint slides and interactive training exercises for use in creating or enhancing your own elder abuse training. Find them at: . Finally, please be sure to check out our new YouTube channel with more than 100 videos related to working with older survivors of abuse.

Selected World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2018 Events
Please follow us throughout the month on Twitter and Facebook and make plans to join the NCALL team for the following World Elder Abuse Awareness Day events:

June 7, 2pm ET: A Webinar  Celebrating 2018 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day featuring an international conversation with Bonnie Brandl (United States), Dr. Jane Mears (Australia), Bridget Penhale (United Kingdom), and Laura Tamblyn Watts (Canada). During the webinar, NCALL and staff from the Canadian Association of Retired Persons will also discuss new work, resources, and funding opportunities through the U.S. Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life grant program. Register at:

June 28, 2pm ET: NCALL and the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit will present Protection Orders and Older Victims: A Survivor-Centered Approach, a 60-minute webinar discussing the unique needs of older survivors who are seeking protection orders. Please join us to learn how you can better support an older survivor before, during, and after the court process. Register at:
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Date: Thursday, June 7, 2018

Time: 2:00 PM (EST)/1:00 PM (CST)/12:00 PM (MST)/11:00 AM (PST)

Duration: 90 Minutes

Title: Celebrating 2018 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Presented by:  National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) and Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP)


Overview: On June 7, make plans to join a 90-minute World Elder Abuse Awareness Day webinar featuring a lively, international conversation with NCALL’s Bonnie Brandl (United States), Dr. Jane Mears (Australia), Bridget Penhale (England), and Laura Tamblyn Watts (Canada). These dynamic women have each led initiatives in their respective countries for more than 25 years at the intersection of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and elder abuse.  During the webinar, NCALL and CARP staff will also discuss our new work, resources, and funding opportunities through the OVW Enhanced Training and Services to End Abuse in Later Life grant program.

Who should enroll: This webinar is open to anyone interested in learning more about resources and strategies to address abuse in later life.

Registration: Registration has closed. Using the links below, you can now watch the webinar recording and access the resource materials. 


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The National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) and Terra Nova Films  recently received funding from the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) (U.S. Department of Justice), for Lifting Up the Voices of Older Survivors Video Project to create educational videos on elder abuse for professionals and community members. NCALL, Terra Nova Films, and the OVC previously partnered on In Their Own Words: Domestic Abuse in Later Life (August 2010), a collection of video clips highlighting the voices of  five older survivors to help build the capacity of a range of professional groups who work with older victims of abuse.   


We Need Your Help.

We are looking for older survivors of abuse and/or family members if the person is no longer able to speak for him/herself who are willing to share their experiences. We are open to talking to any older survivor or family member to see if they are a fit for our project. We are especially interested stories from older survivors who:

  • Have received victim services, including older victims who have used support groups or transitional housing programs 
  • Are faith-affiliated, from tribal or rural communities, other communities of color 
  • Were victims of financial exploitation, including being abused by a guardian
  • Experienced neglect, stalking in later life, sexual abuse

If you know of an older survivor(s) or family members who might be interested in working with us, please complete the brief application. An electronic version may be completed online at: Alternatively, you can download a fillable application here and submit it to Rhonda Martinson at 


We will follow up to gather more information to assist us with our screening and approval process.  We will accept applications January – August, 2018.  If you have any questions about this project, feel free to contact Bonnie Brandl at or Jim Vanden Bosch at

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The Office on Violence Against Women is pleased to announce the release of a request for proposals for the Enhanced Training And Services To End Abuse In Later Life Program.  For this solicitation, OVW will accept applications for the Abuse in Later Life Program from the following:

  • New applicants who have never received funding  
  • Applicants who received funding in FY 2002 through FY 2004 under the Abuse in Later Life Program
  • Continuation applicants that have an existing award under the Abuse in Later Life Program or who received funding in FY 2009 – FY 2014.

Grant recipients that received funding under the Abuse in Later Life Program in FY 2015 or 2016 are NOT eligible to apply.

The request for proposals can be found at:  

Proposals are due November 8, 2017.

For more information, contact Janice Green at the Office on Violence Against Women at

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One in ten older adults are abused each year. Some of these older victims are in dangerous situations and need a temporary place to live or new permanent housing. Yet, many shelters and transitional housing programs are ill-equipped to meet the unique needs of older survivors.

To better understand and address the needs of older adults in crises, in 2016, the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL) facilitated a Roundtable on Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing for Victims of Abuse in Later Life. The Roundtable was jointly hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice, through the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Administration for Community Living (ACL), and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program (FVPSA).

The Roundtable participants were a select group of experts in the elder abuse and domestic violence fields, including: four older survivors who had utilized emergency shelters and transitional housing; nine local victim service providers; two representatives from state domestic violence coalitions; eight national OVW funded technical assistance providers; and, more than a dozen policy and program specialists representing federal agencies responsible for administering victim services. Each of these perspectives revealed critical insights on how older survivors perceive and receive various types of victim services, and how advocates at local, state, and national levels can improve the available options.

We are pleased to share a new article, authored by Bonnie Brandl, Cailin Crockett, and Juanita Davis, that reveals the lessons learned from the testimonies of the survivors, advocates and experts at the Roundtable, summarizes the Roundtable’s overarching themes, and offers recommendations for programmatic responses to better serve older adults experiencing abuse, so they may find a safe place to heal, and ultimately, to thrive.




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NCALL is proud to announce the release of the Abuse in Later Life Education Series for Advocates. This new training series consists of 13 instructional video clips featuring national experts discussing key topics advocates encounter when serving older survivors. The training modules are formatted as videos, each less than 30 minutes in length. A worksheet accompanies each module with links to additional resources and questions for advocates and programs to consider as they incorporate key content into their practice. To learn more, please visit:
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Recognizing the Emergency Housing & Shelter Needs of Older Survivors on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

By: Ashley Slye, Senior Transitional Housing Specialist, NNEDV & Bonnie Brandl, Director, National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL)

Today, communities across the United States and around the world recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: an international observance held on June 15 each year to bring visibility to interpersonal violence experienced by older adults. A serious public health and human rights issue that too often goes ignored, elder abuse can include physical, psychological, or sexual abuse; neglect; and financial exploitation. Since approximately two-thirds of older victims are female, elder abuse is a subset of violence against women. For example, the most extensive national study to-date found that 1 in 10 community-residing older adults reported experiencing at least one form of abuse the previous year—and the majority of cases of physical violence involved female victims with spouses as perpetrators. In addition to being intimate partners, perpetrators of abuse in later life are likely to be family members, paid and unpaid caregivers, and other persons in a relationship where the victim and society expect compassion and caring. Even when the abuser is not an intimate partner, the dynamics of power and control commonly experienced by younger victims and other forms of abuse may be present.

Domestic violence advocates throughout the country are therefore well-positioned to provide older survivors of abuse with critical trauma-informed services and support, from safety planning, to emergency shelter and transitional housing. Many local programs are doing important work to ensure that survivors across the lifespan benefit from their expertise, as the most recent NNEDV Census shows that 81% of domestic violence shelters provided advocacy and services for older victims throughout the year in 2016. Still, we know from our work with advocates and listening to older survivors that common challenges exist for victims aged 50 and older in accessing domestic violence programs—particularly when it comes to securing accessible emergency shelter and transitional housing. Some obstacles older survivors experience include:

  • Misalignment between the older survivors’ needs and traditional safety planning: For example, strategies to end all contact with the abuser may not resonate with an older victim who wants to maintain a relationship with the person who is harming them. Often older victims want the abuse to end but they want to safely, and sometimes in a supervised setting, continue some form of contact with a partner of many years, adult child, grandchild, or other family members. 
  • True peer advocacy for older adults who find they are the only survivor of their age group in the program: Adjusting to living with younger women and children can be difficult for older survivors. Some older victims feel invisible or that their unique needs, such as accessing resources like Social Security or Medicare, are not addressed or advocates do not have the tools to address their needs.
  • Accessibility: Shelters or communal transitional housing programs with bunk beds, narrow doors and walkways limiting access for persons using walkers or wheelchairs, inconvenient or unavailable ramps or elevators, and no bars in showers/raised toilets may not be accessible for persons with limited mobility. 
  • Restrictive policies: The ability to live independently is often an eligibility requirement of some domestic violence shelters or transitional housing programs. As a result, persons with dementia or other cognitive limitations as well as older victims who require personal attendants and/or assistance with activities of daily living may be told they are ineligible for services and referred elsewhere.

    Despite these and other challenges, domestic violence programs can modify their practices and policies to better support older survivors. To support your efforts, NCALL is releasing a new resource TODAY, offering DV advocates practical tips and strategies on how to enhance your response to and work with older survivors. The Abuse in Later Life Education Series for Advocates is a series of 13 training modules, each consisting of an instructional video clip featuring national experts on abuse in later life walking through key topics advocates encounter in serving older survivors. Each module explores the themes highlighted in NCALL’s toolkit, Working with Older Survivors of Abuse: A Framework for Advocates, such as domestic and sexual violence in later life, victim-defined advocacy, mandatory reporting, and elder-informed victim services.

    Along with NCALL, NNEDV is committed to supporting domestic violence programs across the country as they provide safety, healing, and recognition of the inherent dignity of survivors across the lifespan. We are excited by this new resource, which will equip advocates with concrete examples, tips, and encouragement for reimagining how simple modifications of their programs and policies can go a long way towards the meaningful inclusion of older survivors. On this World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, it is vital that our field acknowledges the intersection of age with gender-based violence—alongside other factors, such as race, ethnicity, religion, disability, socioeconomic status, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Let us work together to support survivors in all of their diversity.

    To learn more about the resources from the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, visit:
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