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Domestic Violence doesn`t stop at sixty                                       2004 

Domestic Violence doesn`t stop at sixty 

The phrase ‘Domestic Violence’ brings to mind a young, vulnerable woman who is trapped in a relationship from which she cannot detach herself. But the truth is that women of any age may suffer from living with a violent partner. Older women who do so are forced to suffer in silence says a new report ‘Older Women and Domestic Violence’ by Help the Aged and hact (Housing Associations' Charitable Trust). They are being let down by professionals, service providers and ignored by policy makers because of an inherent belief that domestic violence stops at sixty.


A lack of research, little professional awareness and services specifically tailored to their needs and a wide spread confusion between elder abuse and domestic violence forces women over sixty into an ambiguous hole between the two social issues.

Kate Jopling, Public Affairs Officer for Help the Aged explains; ’Society has created a huge wall of ignorance around the issue of domestic violence for older women. Older women have grown up in a culture when domestic violence was not even considered a crime. Therefore they are less likely to believe themselves a victim let alone report such violence. This is coupled with stereotypical views that older women do not have intimate relationships, and that older men are rarely a serious threat.’

The new report claims that:

  • Lack of training for professionals and healthcare workers results in the assumption that domestic violence is not an issue for older women and are consequently unlikely to accurately identify signs.

  • Marks of physical injury are often attributed to falls.

  • If an older women discloses incidences of such violence it can be put down to confusion or dementia.

  • There is a common believe that ‘it can’t be that bad or she would have left years ago’.

  • Issues faced by older women experiencing domestic violence are common to women of all ages.

  • However, older women are more likely to have specific needs such as disability, mobility, social or cultural issues.

In tackling the issues faced by women over 60 the report recommends:

  • Research to identify the scope of the problem

  • Specific services designed to meet the needs of older women

  • Closer working relationship between workers in adult protection and the domestic violence field

  • Training and support for professionals and healthcare workers to help identify and support older women.


To order a copy of Older Women and Domestic Violence priced 8, please contact



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