Last year, we supported 72 women ages 60 and over. MANY MORE are suffering in silence.
Media reports have highlighted a surge in domestic abuse incidents on women and children but many older women are also at significant risk, with lockdown restrictions exacerbating this.
There are many barriers to older women seeking help. We know older women are in a high-risk category regarding Coronavirus, with age related vulnerability often resulting from pre-existing health needs. In many cases, this isolation has reduced social contact from friends and family and reduced time outdoors. This has led to reduced social support and prevented many women accessing help. During social distancing, we continue to observe that older women may become dependant on their abusers and limited family contact mean less opportunity to discuss abuse and disclose to their loved ones.
Older women may experience domestic abuse from an adult family member or current intimate partner, or have mobility or disability issues that may be a factor in them leaving or seeking help. Furthermore, we are aware that many services have moved online to adapt to the current climate. We must ensure that every woman, regardless of her age, has the information and recourse to enable her to get help.
Many older women we support have lived with abuse for years, even decades. Abusive behaviour is often normalised or she many not recognise behaviour as abusive. She may love him, care for him and worry about him or unsettling family dynamics, if she was to leave.
More awareness is needed to recognise the impact of domestic abuse on older women and the additional barriers they might have to leaving. We need the public to know about our services and how women can safely and privately access these.
Our services are not a “one size fits all” model. We provide support tailored to each woman’s emotional, practical and safety needs.
Older women are not the invisible or forgotten victims during this pandemic. We are here if you need a listening ear
If would like to speak to someone or if you are worried about someone you know, you can contact us confidentially on,
– Phone: 02890 6666049
– Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Web Chat: www.belfastwomensaid.org.uk
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