A toolkit to help raise awareness about violence in older people's relationships, has been launched in time for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Monday 15 June.

Black and white image of an elderly woman in distress with her hands over her face.

The Toolkit has been developed by the South Devon Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum (SVDVA), because they know that older people, 50 and above, who are not in happy and healthy relationships can find it difficult to find support. 

The ability to recognise the signs of abuse and to be aware of options available are some of the key aspects of the toolkit, which will improve safety and personal wellbeing.  

It is important to remember that relationships are not always between couples. Domestic abuse can happen within any family dynamic, regardless of age or gender. 

Instances of abuse are very varied. It could be someone is controlling life decisions or causing physical, emotional, sexual, financial or psychological harm in some way, but it is never too late to seek support to be safe and happy. There are always options and choices.

Cllr Robin Musgrave, West Devon Borough Council's Member for the Community Safety Partnership, said: "By working in partnership with other agencies, the Forum have used their expertise to develop a resource that we are proud to share across the 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."

Cllr Tom Holway, South Hams District Council's Member for the South Devon and Dartmoor Community Safety Partnership, said: "The Forum saw that there was a need to create the Later in Life Toolkit due to the rising number of people over 50 asking for support.  This resource can really help change and improve lives. 

"We urge those people who are experiencing distress to use the toolkit to find out how they can break the cycle and enjoy healthier relationships in the future." 

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."

The toolkit is available to download from the Splitz website: www.splitz.org/resources/talk-toolkits.html 

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 101@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk.  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. 

For more information on the UN's World Elder Abuse Day, go to: www.un.org/en/observances/elder-abuse-awareness-day/ 


Issued: 12 June 2020