If you are an older person and have any concerns about domestic or sexual violence, now or in the past, contact the 24 Hour Domestic & Sexual Violence Helpline.

The Helpline provides information, emotional support, and the opportunity to talk over all your concerns, including housing and legal options. You are guaranteed a confidential and caring response.

It is never too late to leave an abusive relationship.

Who is abused?

Any older person can be abused, regardless of gender, disability, sexual orientation, nationality or background. The Helpline welcomes calls from everyone. Recognising what is happening to you, or has happened in the past, is the first step in escaping the pain and misery of domestic and sexual violence.

Domestic violence and older people

Domestic violence can include physical, emotional, financial, psychological or sexual abuse. You are being abused if your husband/wife/ partner/ex-partner/carer/family member does any of the following:

  • Subjects you to lifelong violence or abuse
  • Constantly criticises your appearance, undermines your decisions and opinions
  • Blames you for everything that goes wrong
  • Physically hurts you in any way
  • Leaves you alone for long periods of time
  • Constantly wants you to justify what you spend money on, or takes your money
  • Threatens to place you in a residential service against your will
  • Tries to isolate you from your friends, family and grandchildren
  • Intimidates and threatens to harm you or those close to you or threatens you with weapons
  • Injures or hurts your pet

Sexual violence and older people

Sexual violence/abuse refers to any sexual acts that a person does not consent to take part in. It may not always be physically violent. It can include:

  • Rape
  • Unwanted touching or kissing
  • Withholding care needs unless you have sex
  • Coerced or forced sexual activities, including activities that may involve violence and pain
  • Forcing you to watch or participate in pornography
  • Inflicting pain intentionally in areas which are painful e.g. if you have arthritis
  • Using medication or alcohol to make you vulnerable in order to have sex with them
  • ‘Grooming’ a child or vulnerable person to engage in sexual activities of any kind

Who sexually abuses older people?

Most people are abused by someone they know and trust, a partner or ex-partner, a family member, a son or daughter, carers, people in positions of authority, neighbours, and sometimes strangers.

Abusers are often good at convincing those they have abused that it was their fault and they agreed to it.

How Women’s Aid can help you

Our team of specially trained workers understand the devastating impact domestic or sexual violence can have on your life. We realise it can be hard to pick up the phone for the first time, especially if you have been suffering abuse for a very long time.

Our Helpline workers are experienced in supporting you to talk when you are ready. We understand you may not know what to say or how to start. Our workers will put you at ease.

The Helpline can refer women directly to the safe network of refuges and outreach support services provided by local Women’s Aid groups.

We can also arrange safe temporary accommodation for men and refer women and men to a range of other agencies for support.

If you have been sexually assaulted the Helpline can arrange immediate practical help, including direct referral to The Rowan, the sexual assault referral centre.

Help for Older People Leaflet