What is Elder Abuse?

Elder Abuse takes many different forms from physical and emotional abuse to financial abuse. It can occur in a variety of places such as in the home, in the community, in residential homes and in hospitals. Abuse can be perpetrated by people with differing relationships to the victim; from family members and accquaintences to even care workers. It is:

'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'

Types of Abuse

Below are the figures for reported forms of abuse:

Neglect is the most commonly reported form of abuse at 39%

Physical Abuse

The non-accidental use of force against an elderly person which results in physical pain, injury, or impairment. Includes not only physical assaults such as hitting or shoving but the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints or confinement such as:

  • Being slapped, punched kicked, bitten or choked
  • Being physically restrained such as being tied to a chair
  • Being drugged
  • Being denied sleep
  • Withholding of food, medication or medical attention
  • Being left neglected

Emotional Abuse

Any form of controlling behaviour or act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilisation, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity and self-worth for example;

  • Threats of violence or abandonment
  • Making derogative or slanderous statements
  • Ignoring or excessively criticizing
  • Withholding important information
  • Person may be left in an unsafe environment unfit for their needs
  • Isolating from friends and relatives
  • Threatening to punish

Financial Abuse

One of the most prevalent forms of elder abuse. Covers a wide range of activities from mishandling finances to fraud, but can be broadly described as a violation of the individual's rights relating to their financial affairs or assets. Examples of financial abuse are:

  • Taking money or property without consent
  • Forging an older person's signature
  • Getting an older person to sign a deed, will, or power of attorney through deception, coercion, or undue influence
  • Exerting pressure to move into their home or hand assets over

Is Elder Abuse a problem?

It is estimated that over 500,000 older people are victims of abuse each year.

Nearly 1 in 10 older people are experiencing abuse in some form with the majority being women over 70

33% of abuse is by neighbours and aquaintences

35% of abuse is by partners or spouses

32% of abuse is by other family members

The following may help you or someone you know to stay safe:

  • Think about where you could go if you need to leave in a hurry
  • If you fear for your safety try and stay in a room with access to an exit, if possible leave as soon as it is safe
  • If an incident occurs try to leave before it gets worse
  • In an emergency always call 999
  • If you are a victim of abuse please tell someone! Support is available to help you
  • If you know someone who is a victim of abuse please report it!

Keeping people safe is the responsibility of everyone!

Please report domestic violence to the Police, nationally it takes on average 35 incidents before someone will ask the Police for help, so please do something about this sooner, chances are it will happen again. Don't suffer in silence!

If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse we are here to help. Talk to us or someone you trust and together we can stop Elder Abuse!

Where to go for help:

Call our local Helpline: 08443 843 843

Let go service:

01900 842992 or letgo@impacthousing.org.uk - independent domestic violence advisors

Cumbria Constabulary:

Call 999 if a crime is occurring or 101 for a non-emergency

Victim Support:

0300 303 0157 or www.victimsupport.org.uk - free confidential support

Citizens Advice:

01946 693321 or www.citizensadvice.org.uk - advice about your legal rights

Womens aid:

0808 2000247 or www.womensaid.org.uk - free 24 hour helpline

Mens advice line:

0808 8010 327 or www.mensadviceline.org.uk - confidential helpline for men

The Birchall Trust:

01229 820828 or www.birchalltrust.org.uk - free one to one counselling sessions to male and females of all ages

West Cumbria Domestic Violence support:

01900 67167 or www.freedom-project-west-cumbria.org.uk - full advocacy and support service

Churches Together in Cumbria:



0808 802 4040 or www.respect.uk.net - a UK membership organisation for work with domestic violence perpetrators