Use Day of Older Persons to think

Today (Sunday, October 1) is the International Day of Older Persons; a day designated by the United Nations back in 1990.

The day is given a theme each year and for 2017 it is:

“Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society.”

 Everyone at Broxtowe Women’s Project (BWP) fully supports work that encourages older persons to get involved in various aspects of social, cultural, economic and civic and political life.

We would also like to use the theme to make people think about why an older person they know seems reluctant to go out, to get involved with their community or to do anything that they say might “upset” their partner.

Could it be that they are subject to domestic abuse?

While many people think that domestic abuse is something that affects younger women, research suggests that thousands of older women, including those aged over 65, are affected.

In October 2016 domestic abuse charity Safer Lives published a report called “Safe Later Lives: Older people and domestic abuse”.

It focused on older victims of abuse and among its findings were:

  • Victims aged 61+ are much more likely to experience abuse from a current intimate partner than those 60 and under.
  • Older victims are more likely to be living with the perpetrator after getting support
  • An additional key barrier that can arise in this client group is the issue of dependency; they often rely on the perpetrator for care.
  • Older people are statistically more likely to suffer from health problems, reduced mobility or other disabilities, which can exacerbate their vulnerability to harm.

It is probably a result of the fact that older women are less likely to report or seek help that leads to the assumption it is not an issue for this age group.

Help the Aged stresses the point that older victims are less likely to report, saying: “Before the 1970s, a range of cultural and social factors – combined with the fact that domestic violence was not considered a crime – led to many women ‘suffering in silence’. For many women now aged 50 or over, this is still the norm.”

On the International Day of Older Persons, we would like everyone to remember that domestic abuse has no age limit.

The signs of domestic abuse among older people are exactly the same as those for their younger counterparts.

Family and friends should not automatically assume that injuries, confusion, depression, reluctance to go out with friends or to do anything that they say might “upset” their partners are age-related.

At BWP we can and do help women of all ages.

If you or a friend want to talk, pick up the phone (01773 719111) or use text (07914 634190) to get in touch with us.  It could put an end to years of fear and open the door to a bright new future.

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