Abuse has no age limit

15th June 2021

Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has hosted an online webinar for frontline professionals, shining a light on the devastating impact of abuse on older people.

The webinar, ‘Abuse has no age limit’, gave attendees an understanding of the types of abuse commonly experienced by older people and offered an insight into the complex barriers they can face when trying to seek help.

The event was held to mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Tuesday 15 June.

It provided a platform to hear the powerful voices of older people in Gwent via case studies from national domestic abuse and homelessness organisation Llamau, and recommendations of the Seldom Heard Communities report, commissioned by Gwent VAWDASV.

Jeff Cuthbert said: “Sadly, we know that abuse can affect anyone of any age, but older people are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Evidence has suggested that that the pandemic has increased isolation and vulnerability.

“There will always be people who seek to exploit the vulnerable, so it has never been more important for people to recognise abuse. Being aware of the signs while in working in communities could help someone who is being abused or living in an abusive relationship get the help they desperately need.

“Supporting vulnerable people is a key priority for me and at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan for Gwent. Abuse of any kind will not be tolerated here in Gwent.”

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said: “World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an important reminder of the particular ways that abuse may affect older people, and the devastating impact this can have on their lives. 

“So I’m really pleased that the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent is bringing together key partners to explore the initiatives underway locally and nationally to protect and safeguard older people, and to examine ways of working together to ensure that older people experiencing or at risk of abuse can get the help and support they may need.”

Gwent Police provides dedicated support to older victims of crime, in partnership with Age Cymru, through the Connect Gwent victim’s hub, which is supported by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.  

Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Pam Kelly said:

“World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to highlight the work being done by emergency services and our partners to safeguard those most vulnerable across our communities.

“Abuse against the elderly can be in many forms, be that physical, financial, sexual or psychological.

“Policing is committed to protecting and reassuring all our communities, this includes those from our older population.

“Sadly there is a minority within society that take advantage of those in a vulnerable situation, we take a zero tolerance approach to this and will take action.

“If you are concerned about someone you know or love, or you yourself are being abuse, please come and talk us.

“The past year has been difficult for us all, with families, friends and loved-ones not seeing each other as often. Let’s take this opportunity to treasure those we love, learn from their experience and protect them in their later years.”

Recognising the signs of abuse

Recognising the signs can provide a lifeline to anyone experiencing abuse:

Physical signs can include cuts, bruises, wounds, burns, broken bones, untreated injuries, poor skin condition or skin hygiene, dehydration and/or malnourished, weight loss, and damaged clothes or items in the home.

Psychological signs can include unlikely stories, reluctance to talk openly, confusion, anger without apparent cause, sudden behaviour changes, being emotionally upset or agitated, unexplained fear or becoming withdrawn, non-communicative or non-responsive.

Financial signs can include changes to a person’s banking, wills or assets, unpaid bills when someone else is supposed to be paying them, excessive care costs, valuable items disappearing, and lack of simple affordable amenities.

Support services

If you are worried about someone experiencing domestic abuse contact you can contact the Gwent Violence Against Women Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence team for advice and support on 01443 86 437 or viawww.gwentsafeguarding.org.uk/en/VAWDASV/VAWDASV 

You can also call Live Fear Free on 0808 80 10 800.  

The Connect Gwent victim’s hub offers specialist support for older people. Call 0300 123 21 333 or visit www.connectgwent.org.uk

In an emergency always call 999.