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Domestic abuse and older people
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Domestic abuse and older people

12 June, 2024

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Domestic abuse can happen to anyone at any age. Older people may be more likely to be subjected to abuse from an adult child than younger people. Economic abuse is also more prevalent among older people.

If an adult member of your family, your partner or spouse takes money from you, treats you cruelly, threatens or frightens you, this is abuse. It is not your fault, support is available.

Ahead of National Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15th June, we spoke to BBC news about the issue.

A survivor, who was made to feel like a prisoner in her own home until she received support from IDAS, spoke out,

"Behind closed doors, they’re very nasty."

"Mostly in my case verbally but there were a couple of physical things. I wasn’t allowed to do anything very much."

"It was like being in prison.”

Kadi Greenwood, IDAS older persons domestic abuse worker, supported her to start a new life independently. Kadi says,

“Everyone has their preconceived ideas about what domestic abuse is."

"A lot of it is control, a lot of it is emotional abuse and a lot of it is financial, especially among older people.”

Among the over 65's referred to IDAS for support, men accounted for 23% of referrals, which is higher than the percentage for male referrals of any age. 44% of male victims were abused by an adult son.

25.8% of female victims were abused by an adult son. The majority of female victims are more likely to be abused by a male intimate partner.

The majority of perpetrators were males and the majority of victims were females.

There are several reasons why domestic abuse among older people may be hidden, including: isolation, limited awareness of domestic abuse and emotional abuse among older people, entrenched gender roles, disability, ill health, limited access to the internet, transport and support services.

If you are concerned about your relationship, or for someone you know, please contact us for information and guidance.

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