Ten per cent of older people will experience some form of domestic abuse and in Somerset the number of people over sixty-five reporting abuse is on the increase.
Social isolation has been identified as one of the leading contributors and, at a time when more people are isolated due to the current lockdown, Somerset County Council would like to reassure everyone help is, and will continue to be, available for those experiencing domestic abuse – whatever their age.
Older people are particularly vulnerable to domestic abuse, often unaware that help is available. Fear and long-term health conditions can be major barriers to seeking and getting help, and sometimes spotting and challenging abuse in the elderly can be difficult.
The Council has had a long running campaign, #NoClosedDoors2020, which 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, online or sexual abuse. It is also believed that abuse of seniors is still significantly under reported, despite the recent rise. Tragically, many will suffer in silence, behind closed doors, in shame or embarrassment.
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 many years.
“I urge anyone who is living with abuse in their lives to get help and advice. Domestic abuse is wrong, regardless of age or how long someone has been experiencing it.
“I would like to reassure our community that help will always available to flee it.”
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, worried about someone you know, or are concerned about the impact of your behaviour towards others, then help is available: www.somersetsurvivors.org.uk or by telephoning 0800 69 49 999.
In an emergency you should always dial 999. If you are worried that an abuser may overhear your call you can remain silent, tap the phone and dial 55 when prompted by the operator who will send help.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech-impaired you can register with emergencySMS.net. Once registered you will be able to send a text to 999 if you require help in an emergency.