Rural Domestic and Sexual Abuse Program Advocates: Making a Difference in the Lives of Older Survivors of Abuse

Created December 2013, Updated October 2023

National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life (NCALL)


NCALL first created this toolkit in 2013 aiming to provide rural domestic and sexual abuse service programs with resources and tools to effectively respond to abuse in later life, an issue that lies at the nexus between domestic violence, sexual assault, and elder abuse.

This new release in October 2023 builds upon the original toolkit, incorporating feedback from two focus groups of individuals working in rural communities. In it you will find:

  • an overview of abuse in later life and the unique challenges it poses for older survivors and service providers;
  • suggested strategies for serving older survivors in rural areas;
  • ideas for tailoring services in DV and SA programs to better meet the needs of older marginalized adults;
  • tips for outreach in rural communities;
  • and a discussion of the importance of working together to respond to abuse in later life.  

“Populations in rural areas are also changing. In the 2010 Census, 19% of the U.S. population lived in rural areas compared to 21% in 2000 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Furthermore, 17% of rural populations were persons 65 and older, as compared to 13% living in urban areas (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). Many baby boomers moved to rural areas during the 1990’s and are now beginning to retire in rural communities. At the same time, young people are moving out of rural areas and into more urban environments in search of work and education (USDA Economic Research Service, 2007). Elder abuse is a complex and deeply personal issue, posing several unique challenges that must be handled by knowledgeable service providers through a collaborative approach.”

Access the updated resource here