280,000 people aged 60 to 74 experienced domestic abuse last year
Published on 27 April 2020 03:48 PM
80,000 more older people suffer from domestic abuse during Government legislation delay
- Age UK reiterates its call on Government to use the legislation to begin collecting domestic abuse data on over 74s
- 280,000 people aged 60 to 74 experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales in 2019 – but no data on over 74s
- Number of older people affected by domestic violence rises by 40% in two years
- “Night-time is my favourite part of the day. I can rest knowing he can’t get to me upstairs and feel safe…..” Grace, aged 81
Age UK reveals that over 80,000 more older people aged 60 to 74 have suffered from domestic abuse since November 2019, when the Government’s legislation was delayed due to the General Election. Age UK has also reiterated its call on the Government to include data collection of domestic abuse on over 74s ahead of the Second Reading of the Domestic Abuse Bill on Tuesday 28 April.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has meant that many older people are being asked to stay at home at all times. This not only makes them more vulnerable to abuse by those they are dependent on, but it also poses a barrier for them seeking help.
Age UK, which received 655 enquiries to its advice line on the subject in the last year, says it is essential the law recognises that older people are affected by domestic abuse and ensures they get the help they need.
Currently data on older victims and survivors is only collected by the Crime Survey for England and Wales up to the age of 74. Without this data, older domestic abuse victims are even more hidden from view and less likely to be factored in specialist support services.
The Charity also wants new legislation to include training for care practitioners, including GPs and practice nurses who work with older people, particularly during hospital admission and discharge because this is when an older person’s experience of abuse may first come to light.
The original Domestic Abuse Bill received its third reading in Parliament in October 2019. Since then changes in Government, a General Election and a global health crisis has led to a lengthy delay to the Bill’s progress. During this time the numbers of older people experiencing domestic abuse has continued to rise.
The Charity’s publication of their updated report, The Hidden Face of Domestic Abuse, highlights disturbing updated figures about the extent of domestic violence among older people. In 2019 over 280,000 people aged 60 to 74 experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales. According to the most recent ONS GovUK stats, in 75% of the domestic abuse-related crimes recorded by the police in the year ending March 2019, the victim was female.
However, the fact that data is only collected to the age of 74, and the reluctance in reporting such crimes, it is expected that the estimate is much higher and many older people remain suffering in silence.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:
“People of any age can be affected by domestic abuse, but older people can be particularly vulnerable to certain forms of abuse, including by a carer and financial abuse. They are likely to be dependent on the person abusing them and very few older domestic abuse victims are accessing professional support.
“Unfortunately, Coronavirus only exacerbates the situation for many at-risk older people and has added another barrier to them leaving an abusive situation.
“The fact that no data is collected about domestic abuse survivors past the age of 74 has helped to keep domestic abuse in later life well and truly hidden, hindering efforts to get support to older people who desperately need it. This age limit is ageist, and a way must be found to collect this essential data from people aged 75 and over.
“It is now time that this was fully recognised by the law, policy and practice so that the needs of older survivors can be identified and properly met.
“Together with many other organisations, including the Women’s Aid Federation and Agenda, we are restating our call on the Government to be bold and ambitious with the Domestic Abuse Bill and include provisions to collect data on victims of all ages.”
Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive of Agenda, the alliance for women and girls at risk, said:
“Domestic abuse can happen to anyone at any age, with women, particularly at risk. It is devastating and life-threatening. Social distancing measures during the current crisis mean women are at even greater risk - trapped at home with abusers at a time when coercive, controlling and violent behaviours are escalating."
"This Bill must ensure we never miss an opportunity to help survivors and save lives. This is why we're joining with Age UK and calling for better data collection for all victims and survivors of abuse and for trained staff in all our public services to ask about abuse and respond accordingly."
"It’s vital that all services ask and take action about abuse. With 149 women killed in the last year and more in danger during this crisis, this absolutely has to be everyone’s business."
Age UK can help an older person at risk of #DomesticAbuse, #WeAreHere. The Age UK Advice Line on 0800 678 1602 is open from 8am-7pm 365 days a year, and is free and confidential. The National Domestic Abuse Helpline operates 24 hours, 7 days a week and is free to call on 0808 2000 247.
Where it isn’t safe to access support via a telephone or those with hearing impairments, Age UK’s ‘staying safe’ page is at the following link: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/coronavirus/staying-safe-and-well-at-home/staying-safe/
For more info and the report - No age limit: older people and domestic abuse -
 Age UK analysis using ONS (2019), Domestic abuse prevalence and victim characteristics, England and Wales: year ending March 2019 - Appendix tables and Estimates of the population for England and Wales, Accessed via: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/domesticabuseprevalenceandvictimcharacteristicsappendixtables and https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/populationestimatesforukenglandandwalesscotlandandnorthernireland
 Age UK analysis of the Crime Survey for England and Wales 2017/18