May 19, 2023

The term “domestic violence” has long been used to describe violence or abuse within a household, typically between spouses or romantic partners. However, in recent years, the term has been gradually replaced with “intimate partner violence” (IPV) in many professional and academic circles. IPV can happen to anyone, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. It affects millions of people every year and can have serious physical, emotional, and financial consequences. Women are disproportionately affected by IPV, with an estimated 1 in 4 women experiencing IPV at some point in their lifetime. However, men can also be victims of IPV, and studies suggest that up to 1 in 7 men experience IPV.

There are several reasons for this shift in terminology, and one of the main reasons is to be more inclusive. IPV can affect individuals of all ages. By using the term “intimate partner violence,” we acknowledge that the issue extends beyond the traditional concept of domestic violence and can impact people in various stages of life, including elderly adults in the care of family.

Elderly individuals, in particular, may face unique challenges when it comes to recognizing and reporting IPV. They may be more vulnerable due to physical limitations, dependency for care or support, and societal factors such as ageism or isolation. Older adults may also have been in long-term relationships, including marriages, and experienced violence over an extended period of time.

By expanding the terminology to include “intimate partner violence,” we shed light on the experiences of everyone who may be suffering silently, providing them with needed recognition and support. It is crucial to understand that IPV can happen to anyone, regardless of age, and that resources and assistance are available for all individuals affected by such violence. By using the term “intimate partner violence,” we can more accurately describe the nature of the violence and the relationships in which it occurs. Now we can work towards preventing and addressing this issue in a more inclusive and effective way.