Sexual Violence Against Older Adults

We have a right to be safe at all stages of our life.

Developed by Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence

Sexual Violence in Later Life

Sexual violence can affect individuals across the lifespan. Sexual violence includes sexual actions and words that coerce, manipulate or are force upon someone with the intent to intimidate, humiliate or control. Sexual violence can include unwanted touching or fondling; forced sexual contact; rape; humiliating or objectifying the victim's body; forcing the victim to engage in unwanted sex; sexualized kissing; sexual harassment and threats; forced viewing of pornography; using the victim to produce pornography; exhibitionism or exposing the victim's body as a form of humiliation. An additional form of sexual violence is the unnecessary, obsessive or painful touching of the genital area that is not part of a prescribed care plan (Ramsey-Klawsnik, 2010). Many victims of sexual violence have survived multiple victimizations over the course of their lives (NSVRC, 2010).

As with any form of sexual violence, it is important to remember that it can occur to anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or ability. However, most identified older victims of sexual violence are female (Burgess, Ramsey-Klawsnik, & Gregorian, 2008). Sexual violence in later life is often perpetrated by those who have special and trusted relationships with the older adult. These relationships often include caregivers, intimate partners, fellow residents, and family members, including adult children.

Signs of Sexual Violence

Victims of sexual violence may show a wide range of signs or no signs at all. No one victim will have the same reaction following a sexual assault, rape or unwanted sexual contact. However, due to age-related changes in the body, victims who are older tend to suffer more serious physical injuries during an assault than younger victims. The emotional and social effects of sexual violence may also greatly impact someone who is victimized later in life.

Here are a few possible signs of sexual violence that has occurred in later life. These may also be signs of other health issues, as well.

  • Genital injuries, human bite marks, imprint injuries or bruising on thighs, buttocks, breast, face, neck, and other areas
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
  • HIV/Aids
  • Fear, anxiety, agitation, mistrust or dramatic changes in behavior
  • Trouble sleeping, incontinence, lack of appetite or difficulty remembering things when previously able to do so
  • Eyewitness reports or disclosures of the sexual violence
  • Observing suspicious behavior of perpetrators by others (Ramsey-Klawsnik, 2010)

Barriers to Reporting

Reporting a sexual assault is very difficult?for anyone. Sexual violence is highly underreported across the lifespan. Here are a few examples of the many barriers victims may encounter when reporting sexual violence, especially if the violence occurs in later life.

  • Social stigma, related to discussing sexual activities or sexual violence
  • Disabling conditions that interfere with disclosing or making reports
  • Fear of further harm from the perpetrator
  • Reluctance to report, especially if the perpetrator is a family member or caregiver
  • Misinterpretation by others that a disclosure is part of dementia or age-related memory problem
  • Attributing physical injuries and marks as ?normal? markings on an older body (Burgess & Clements, 2008)
  • Lack of specific services for older victims of sexual violence

If A Person You Know Is A Victim of Sexual Violence

Listen and Believe - Listen without judgment, believe what the victim tells you, and acknowledge feelings. Confusion, anger, sadness, guilt, numbness, helplessness, hopelessness, and self-blame are all common reactions to sexual violence and trauma.

Offer Your Support - Let the victim know you are there for support now and in the future. Keep the victim?s information private unless the victim tells you otherwise.

Make a Referral - Refer to the Kansas Crisis Hotline, 1-888-END-ABUSE (1-888-363-2287), and the community-based sexual assault advocacy program in your area (see phone number list).

Speak Out - Speak out when you hear someone blaming any victim for the violence. Remind others that the responsibility for the violence lies with the perpetrator and that nobody deserves to be sexually violated, regardless of the victim?s age or medical condition.

Advocacy Support Services

Getting in touch with the community-based sexual assault advocacy program can provide a victim of sexual violence with the support and assistance they need for the safety and healing process. These programs offer services 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Services include crisis hotlines, safety planning, information and referrals, personal advocacy, criminal justice advocacy, civil court advocacy, hospital and medical advocacy, support groups, assistance with crime victims' compensation, assistance with protection orders, and more. Victims can access these resources anonymously.

All of these services are free and confidential. Any information shared with an advocacy program listed in this brochure is private and cannot be shared with anyone outside the organization, unless:

  • The program is required to disclose the information by law; or
  • The victim signs an informed, written, time-limited release permitting them to disclose the information.

For support, contact the sexual assault advocacy program nearest you (see phone number list).

For more information about services and resources for older adults in Kansas, visit: www.kdads.ks.gov


For support, contact one of the following:

The sexual and domestic violence program nearest you (see list and map below)

Kansas Crisis Hotline
1-888-END-ABUSE
(1-888-363-2287)

National Sexual Assault Hotline
1-800-656-HOPE
(1-800-656-4673)

Kansas Sexual and Domestic Violence Program Map and List

Programs are listed below the map, alphabetically by city. You do not have to live in the city where the program is located to use their services. If you are in need of advocacy services and do not find your community listed, call the 24/7 Kansas Crisis Hotline at 1-888-363-2287.


1. Crisis Center of Dodge City

City: Dodge City
Counties Served: Clark, Ford, Gray, Hodgeman, Meade
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: http://dodgecitycrisiscenter.com/
Crisis Hotline Number: 620-225-6510 or 1-866-270-2270

 

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2. Family Life Center Safe House

City: El Dorado
Counties Served: Butler, Chautauqua and Elk
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: https://www.familylifecentersafehouse.com/
Crisis Hotline Number: 800-870-6967 or 316-321-7104

 

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3. SOS, Inc.

City: Emporia
Counties Served: Chase, Coffey, Greenwood, Lyon, Morris, Osage
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.soskansas.com
Crisis Hotline Number: 800-825-1295 or 620-342-1870

 

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4. Family Crisis Services

City: Garden City
Counties Served: Finney, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearny, Lane, Scott, Wichita
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Crisis Hotline Number: 620-275-5911

 

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5. Family Crisis Center, Inc.

City: Great Bend
Counties Served: Barber, Barton, Comanche, Edwards, Kiowa, Ness, Pawnee, Pratt, Rush, Stafford
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.familycrisiscntr.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 866-792-1885 or 620-792-1885

 

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6. Options: Domestic and Sexual Violence Services, Inc.

City: Hays
Counties Served: Cheyenne, Decatur, Ellis, Gove, Graham, Logan, Norton, Osborne, Phillips, Rawlins, Rooks, Russell, Sheridan, Sherman, Smith, Thomas, Trego, Wallace
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.help4abuse.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 800-794-4624 or 785-625-4202

 

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7. Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center

City: Hutchinson
Counties Served: Harper, Kingman, Reno, Rice
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.sadvchutch.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 800-701-3630 or 620-663-2522

 

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8. Hope Unlimited

City: Iola
Counties Served: Allen, Anderson, Neosho, Woodson
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.hope-unlimited.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 620-365-7566

 

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9. Friends of Yates - Della Gill/Joyce H. Williams Center

City: Kansas City
Counties Served: Wyandotte
Services: Domestic Violence
Website: www.friendsofyates.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 913-321-0951

 

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10. SAFEHOME

City: Kansas City
Counties Served: Johnson, Miami
Services: Domestic Violence
Website: www.safehome-ks.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 888-432-4300 or 913-262-2868

 

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11. MOCSA

City: Kansas City
Counties Served: Johnson, Miami, Wyandotte
Services: Sexual Assault
Website: www.mocsa.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 913-642-0233 or 816-531-0233

 

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12. Mattie Rhodes Center ¡Si Se Puede!

City: Kansas City
Counties Served: Johnson, Wyandotte
Services: Domestic Violence- therapy, service coordination, legal advocacy, staff speak Spanish
Website: http://www.mattierhodes.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 816-241-3780 (not a crisis line)

 

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13. Kansas City Anti-Violence Project (LGBT services)

City: Kansas City
Counties Served: Johnson, Miami, Wyandotte
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.kcavp.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 816-561-0550

 

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14. The Sexual Trauma and Abuse Care Center

City: Lawrence
Counties Served: Douglas, Franklin, Jefferson
Services: Sexual Assault
Website: http://stacarecenter.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 785-843-8985

 

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15. The Willow Domestic Violence Center

City: Lawrence
Counties Served: Douglas, Franklin, Jefferson
Services: Domestic Violence
Website: www.willowdvcenter.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 800-770-3030 or 785-843-3333

 

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16. Alliance Against Family Violence

City: Leavenworth
Counties Served: Atchison, Brown, Doniphan, and Leavenworth
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.aafv1984.com
Crisis Hotline Number: 800-644-1441 or 913-682-9131

 

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17. LARC/DVS, Inc.

City: Liberal
Counties Served: Grant, Haskell, Morton, Seward, Stanton, Stevens
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.larcdvs.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 888-417-7273 or 620-624-8818

 

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18. The Crisis Center, Inc.

City: Manhattan
Counties Served: Clay, Geary, Marshall, Pottawatomie, Riley
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.thecrisiscenterinc.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 800-727-2785 or 785-539-2785

 

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19. PBP Nation - Tribal Victims Services Program

City: Mayetta
Counties Served: Tribal Members of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Tribe
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.pbpindiantribe.com/social-services.aspx
Crisis Hotline Number: 866-966-0173 or 785-966-8330

 

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20. Safehope, Inc.

City: Newton
Counties Served: Harvey, Marion, McPherson
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.safehope.net
Crisis Hotline Number: 800-487-0510 or 316-283-0350

 

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21. Safehouse Crisis Center, Inc.

City: Pittsburg
Counties Served: Bourbon, Cherokee, Crawford, Labette, Linn, Montgomery, Wilson
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.safehousecrisiscenter.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 800-794-9148 or 620-231-8251

 

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22. Domestic Violence Assoc. of Central Kansas

City: Salina
Counties Served: Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Ottawa, Republic, Saline, Washington
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.dvack.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 800-874-1499 or 785-827-5862

 

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23. YWCA Center for Safety and Empowerment

City: Topeka
Counties Served: Jackson, Nemaha, Shawnee, Wabaunsee
Services: Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
Website: www.ywcatopeka.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 888-822-2983 or 785-354-7927

 

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24. Catholic Charities Harbor House

City: Wichita
Counties Served: Sedgwick
Services: Domestic Violence
Website: catholicdioceseofwichita.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 866-899-5522 or 316-263-6000

 

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25. StepStone

City: Wichita
Counties Served: Sedgwick
Services: Domestic Violence
Website: www.stepstoneks.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 316-265-1611

 

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26. Wichita Area Sexual Assault Center

City: Wichita
Counties Served: Cowley, Sedgwick, Sumner
Services: Sexual Assault
Website: www.wichitasac.com
Crisis Hotline Number: 877-927-2248 or 316-263-3002 o español: 316-263-2044

 

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27. Wichita Family Crisis Center

City: Wichita
Counties Served: Cowley, Sedgwick, Sumner
Services: Domestic Violence
Website: wichitafamilycrisiscenter.org
Crisis Hotline Number: 316-267-7233

 

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