Some individuals are more vulnerable to domestic violence, including the elderly, immigrants and the disabled.
The same person may also combine several of these contexts at once. However, the reality of these men and women is often overlooked, so that community organizations are not always able to respond adequately to their needs.
Prevention efforts should pay particular attention to reducing the risk factors specific to these categories.
To address this issue, a team of researchers carried out a critical literature synthesis in order to better understand how belonging to one or more of these groups can make a person more vulnerable to domestic violence.
The findings show that the experience of these groups differs from that of the general population in that there is an increased risk of domestic violence, and that the forms of violence and risk factors involved are unique to these contexts. Furthermore, the accumulated consequences of violence experienced throughout their lifetime tend to crystallize and affect the individual’s ability and hope of escaping the cycle of violence. Therefore, prevention efforts should pay particular attention to reducing the risk factors specific to these vulnerability contexts.
However, there is little empirical evidence to help understand the complexity of domestic violence experienced by the disabled, the elderly and immigrants. To address this gap, the researchers recommend developing a research agenda specific to the issue of men and women living in multiple contexts of vulnerability to domestic violence, so as to better understand their reality and thereby promote access to services appropriate to their needs.
Nathalie Sasseville, Université du Québec à Chicoutimi
Deposit of the research report: March 2017