Latest figures reveal that ten per cent of older people will experience some form of abuse from those around them – with social isolation identified as one of the leading factors.
In a week which includes the annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and at a time when more older people are isolating due to Coronavirus, Somerset County Council’s ‘No Closed Doors 2020’ campaign aims to spread awareness about the support available.
Older people can be particularly vulnerable to abuse and unable to defend themselves. Fear and infirmity can be major barriers to seeking and getting help, and sometimes spotting and challenging abuse in the elderly can be difficult.
The council’s campaign reminds people of this issue and where to get help if they are, or think they know someone, who is experiencing this kind of abuse.
Abuse can take many forms including neglect or physical, physiological, emotional, financial or sexual abuse. It is also believed that abuse of seniors is significantly under reported. Tragically, many will suffer in silence, behind closed doors, in fear or shame.
For some, who have been experiencing abuse for many years, it has become normalised within their life.
Councillor Clare Paul, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “Everyone should have the opportunity to lead a happy, healthy and safe life free from abuse. Abuse is not acceptable in any circumstances whether it is an isolated incident or is a pattern of behaviour that has been going on for decades.
“I urge anyone who is living in an abusive relationship to get help and advice. Domestic abuse is wrong, regardless of age or how long someone has been experiencing it, and help is available to flee it.”
If you are experiencing abuse or worried about someone you know, help is available for anyone of any age by calling the local confidential domestic abuse support service on 0800 69 49 999 or visiting www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk.
In an emergency you should always dial 999, if you are unable to talk, for fear of being overheard by your abuser, you can remain silent and dial 55 to get help when the operator answers.