World Elder Abuse Awareness Day – Tool Kit Launched by Local Domestic Abuse Charity

A ‘Relationships in Later Life’ tool kit has been developed by the South Devon Sexual Violence Domestic Violence and Abuse (SVDVA) Forum, in collaboration with independent charity and leading provider of domestic abuse support services, Splitz Support Service, and partnered with the South Devon and Dartmoor Community Safety Partnership, Devon Carers, Adult Social Care and Age UK Devon.

The aim of the resource is to help people in abusive and unhealthy relationships to recognise the abuse and to be aware of the options and choices that will improve their safety and well-being.  The toolkit will also be helpful for professionals who are assisting victims of this age group. The launch has been timed to coincide with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Monday 15th June which seeks to draw global attention to the problem of physical, emotional, and financial abuse of our elders. 

According to Age UK’s analysis of the Crime Survey for England and Wales for 2017/18, one in four (23%) victims of domestic homicides is over the age of 60*1 In the south west, over 15% of all referrals to Splitz Support Service from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019 were from people over the age of 50 (both male and female).  It is recognised that people later in life who are not in a happy or supportive relationship may find it more difficult to access support.  

‘Relationships in Later Life’ helps the reader to identify the elements that make up a healthy relationship.  It explains what domestic abuse is and the emotional impact it can have on the victim.  There is a quiz to help assess a relationship, a case study, safety plan and it clearly signposts where to go for help.  The (it is actually 38 pages but might put people off if you mention this) tool kit is available to download from the Splitz website: https://www.splitz.org/resources/talk-toolkits.html. Alternatively, paper copies can be requested by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“Whether you are caring for someone, being cared for or have an illness or disability yourself and are dependent on someone for your care, support is available. This tool-kit will help you to think this through and understand that there are always options available to improve your safety and wellbeing.”* 2

“It’s Never Too Late.  No matter what your age, you have the right to live a life free from abuse.  Generational attitudes can be a barrier for many people to make changes - marriage vows taken more seriously ‘til death do us part’ or ‘in sickness and in health.’  You have the rest of your life to live and deserve to be happy and safe.”*2

Crime Prevention Officer Kim Foster from Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Perpetrators of domestic abuse seek to exert power and control over a partner or family member.  They can be physically violent and/or force sexual acts but they can also be very subtle in their methods.  They may take over the finances, use emotional and/or psychological manipulation, neglect, coercion or controlling behaviour.  A large part of the problem with tackling abuse is that the victim often cannot recognise that they are being abused.  This tool kit does vital work in helping victims to see their situations for what they are and offers practical steps to get them out of abusive situations.  It is a valuable resource and I urge everyone to read it because it may help you to recognise a situation in your own family, circle of friends or even with your neighbours and the wider community.  Once you can see the abuse, you can deal with it and this booklet talks through how to do so safely.

Louisa Daley, Community Safety and Safeguarding Lead for South Hams and West Devon Councils and co-chair of the South Devon SVDVA Forum said: “We recognised the need to create the Later in Life Toolkit due to the increasing number of clients over the age of 50 seeking support that we were seeing as professionals across Devon.  By bringing the collective experiences and expertise of many agencies together and by working in partnership, we have developed a resource that we are proud to share across our county. Whether your situation is due to changes in health or has always been this way, everyone has the right to be safe in their own home.”

Alison Cockram, Team Manager for Splitz Support Service and co-chair of the South Devon SVDVA Forum said: “This toolkit was specifically designed to reach those later in life that find it difficult to access support to keep themselves safe. These situations can be made more difficult by Devon’s rurality. More recently, further isolation has affected many due to the COVID 19 restrictions. We would urge anyone who is feeling unsafe, whether due to a partner or other family member, to seek support.  If this is particularly difficult then ask anyone that you trust to seek support on your behalf.”

If you are being abused, or if you have any concerns that an older person you know may be at risk of or experiencing abuse, Police have dedicated domestic abuse officers who will help and advise you. Call 101 for help and guidance or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Always call 999 in an emergency.

Alternatively, if you do not wish to report to the police, you may wish to contact Victim Support directly.  Call your local Victim Support team in Devon and Cornwall on 0300 303 0554. Lines are open 12pm-6pm Monday to Friday.

 

*1  ONS (2018), Domestic abuse in England and Wales – Appendix tables. Table 16: Police recorded crime – Homicide Index data; Characteristics of domestic and other homicides for victims aged 16 years and over, combined data for year ending March 2015 to year ending March 2017. 93 of 400 victims of domestic homicide in England and Wales during this period (23%) were aged 60 and older. Accessed https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/domesticabuseinenglandandwalesappendixtables

*2 Relationships in Later Life Tool Kit

Our stand at the Tavistock Show

Our fantastic staff, Vikki, Chloe and Sara, spent a day at Tavistock Community Festival of Food and Craft this week, and spoke to HRH, Prince Charles about our vital work, supporting families suffering from domestic abuse.

The Splitz team meet The Paul Lavelle Foundation

Meeting an inspiring group of cyclists from the Paul Lavelle Foundation at the end of the first leg of their journey from Lands End to John O'Groats. 

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