Solace has developed a comprehensive toolkit for professionals in a range of agencies to understand the dynamics of domestic abuse in relation to older people and develop guidance that deals with the challenges and complexities of working with this client group.
Older survivors are more likely to have been living with abuse for many years before having the opportunity to seek help. Almost half a million people aged over 65 will experience some form of abuse or neglect (Age UK). In the UK, 1 in 4 domestic homicides involves a victim aged 60+ despite older people only making up 18% of the population.
The limited consideration of older survivors experiencing domestic and sexual abuse within services and in wider society is alarming. Women’s Aid research findings show there is a lack of services specifically for older women and that older survivors were being missed by generic services with a dominant focus on the needs of younger women.
Judith Banjoko, Director of Services at Solace, said:
“The Supporting Older Survivors’ Toolkit addresses the issue of older survivors not getting their needs met in generic services, barriers in disclosing the abuse and accessing support, myths and misconceptions, and the ways trauma can impact an individual. The toolkit also provides guidance on referral processes and support available, safety planning, and best practices in working with older survivors.”
The toolkit is based in part on the consultation that we undertook with focus groups of practitioners within adult social care services and the specialist training that was developed and delivered to 95 professionals across five North London boroughs in 2019-2020.
Thank you to our funders, Comic Relief and The National Lottery Community Fund, for making our work with older women possible through the Visible Women Project and the Silver Project.