Older Female Survivors of intimate Partner Violence in the Taiwanese Cultural Context

Chu-Li Julie Liu*, 1, Faye Mishna2
1 Department of Social Work, Tunghai University, Taichung, Taiwan
1 Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

© 2015 Liu and Mishna

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distributin, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Social Work, Tunghai University, 1727 Sec.4 Taiwan Blvd, Taichung, Taiwan; Tel: (+886) 04-23590121, Ext. 36505; Fax: (+886) 04-23594226; E-mail:


Intimate partner violence (IPV) causes severe physical and psychological damage to victims. Older IPV survivors are increasing around the world with the rapidly growing older population. Little is known about the needs of older female IPV survivors in the Chinese cultural context; the aim of this study was to examine the needs of older female IPV survivors in Taiwan. A grounded theory approach was adopted. Individual in-depth interviews were utilized to collect data. First-level coding, constant comparison among coding, then grouping coding into higher levels of categories and identifying a central story were employed to analyze data. Findings were compared to literature for further verification. Eight Taiwanese older female IPV survivors aged 60 to 74 were interviewed. The findings revealed that the cultural premise emphasizing the importance of family was a major contributor to participants’ staying in abusive relationships. Four themes emerged in this study: 1) the marriage serving different purposes throughout the life course of the participants; 2) keeping the family whole enhances life satisfaction in older age; 3) working towards financial independence for lifetime security is an important goal; and 4) finding an independent space as a way of coping with the abusive relationship.

Implications for social work practice, in particular incorporating the cultural premise into developing viable options for older female survivors, are discussed.

Keywords: Cultures, family, independence, intimate partner violence, older females, Taiwan.