We define elder abuse as:
"A single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person".
It is important that when we think of domestic abuse that we don’t forget that it can affect anyone of any age! The abuse can come in many different forms
- physical abuse
- psychological abuse
- financial abuse
- sexual abuse
Abuse can occur anywhere:
- someone’s own home
- a carer’s home
- day care
- residential care
- a nursing home
Both older men and women can be at risk of being abused. The abuser is usually well known to the person being abused.
They may be:
- a partner, child or relative
- a friend or neighbour
- a paid or volunteer care worker
- a health or social worker, or other professional
- someone the older person cares for
Often, the people who abuse older people are exploiting a special relationship. They are in a position of trust, whether through family bonds, friendship or through a paid caring role, and they exploit that trust. Very rarely is the abuser someone who provides a family caring role.
An elderly person may be regarded as a “vulnerable adult” or "adult at risk", and there are multi-agency policies and procedures for the safeguarding and protection of vulnerable adults. You should be able to find details of these on your local authority's Adult Safeguarding Board website.
SafeLives produced a report on DA in older people: Safe Older Lives — Older People and Domestic Abuse, 2016
National organisations that can offer help
Action on Elder Abuse
Works to protect, and prevent the abuse of, vulnerable older adults and by doing so also protects other adults a risk of abuse.
Helpline: 0808 808 8141