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covervawinclusive ontarioWhat is this guide?
This resource offers information to shelter workers to learn about the nature of violence and barriers older women with disabilities and older Deaf women experience in accessing shelter services, in order that shelters can proactively address these issues within the context of their service provision. We are defining‘older’ adults and/or seniors as age 65 years plus, since many government benefits begin at this age designation. A key component of this guide is for VAW shelters to learn about the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) in order to understand the minimum requirements that they are obligated to comply with under the law.

Why was this guide developed?
Research studies continue to confirm that women with disabilities are abused at a much higher rate than women without disabilities. Studies indicate that women with disabilities are sexually assaulted at a rate at least twice that of the general population of women. The rate for women with intellectual disabilities and Deaf women is even higher than other women with disabilities.Violence against older women is also pronounced with almost 63% of older women (per 100,000people) reporting having experienced family violence.For over a decade now, questions around access to women’s shelters for women with disabilities and more recently, older women, have been flagged given such pronounced rates of violence. Lack of access to shelter services is going to become more of an issue as older women with disabilites and older Deaf women, like the general population, are experiencing an increased in life expectancy beyond what was typically mid-life.

Source: Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses