Mind the Gap! (MtG) Improving intervention in Intimate Partner Violence against older Women

This project, which is coordinated by the "Zoom – So­ci­ety for Prospec­tive De­vel­op­ments" runs from March 2011 to February 2013 and aims to increase the capacity of law enforcement and social support organisations to tackle intimate partner violence against older women, in addition to increasing public awareness of the issue and reaching out to victims.

It appeared from our research that only a small minority of older women victims seek help; it is evident that they are less aware of existing support systems and less able to access support than younger women. It was also apparent that law enforcement and social support agencies generally had little awareness of the complexities of the issue, as did the general public.

Many practitioners and professionals throughout the law enforcement and social support environments acknowledge that there is a serious lack of information about how to deal with these cases, that their actual options for handling these cases are limited and that examples of good practice are not widely available. Furthermore, on frequent occasions cases of IPV against older women cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the parties involved.

Our project focuses explicitly on developing the capacity of law enforcement and social support agencies to deal with these issues.

In order to better understand how law enforcement agencies currently deal with cases of intimate partner violence against older women, our research comprised the quantitative and qualitative analysis of police and public prosecutor case files, reinforced by national workshops and consultation with experts, professionals and practitioners. This research resulted in the following outcomes:

  1. gained more in­sight into factual in­ter­ven­tions and sup­port by law en­force­ment agen­cies
  2. raised aware­ness with­in law en­force­ment and so­cial sup­port agen­cies about older women as vic­tims of IPV
  3. en­cour­aged agen­cies to tack­le the prob­lem and to im­prove out­reach to this sub­group of vic­tims
  4. assisted in building the ca­pac­i­ty of law en­force­ment and so­cial sup­port agen­cies so that they can re­spond to and in­ter­vene suc­cess­ful­ly in these cases

Consequently the following material was developed:

  • manual/guidance for law enforcement agencies
  • manual/guidance for social support agencies
  • development and evaluation of training for law enforcement agencies
  • development of public relation material for the use of social support and law enforcement organisations