NEW GUIDE: Domestic abuse and older people in sheltered and retirement housing

There is a misconception that domestic abuse decreases with age. However, there is significant evidence to show that older people are as likely to experience domestic abuse as their younger counterparts. Older people are also as likely to experience the same range of abusive behaviours and severity of abuse, yet older people are under-recognised as victims of domestic abuse in policy and practice and have poor visibility in domestic abuse service provision.

Erosh members have reported an increase in domestic abuse incidents in sheltered and retirement housing schemes and particularly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have therefore developed this guide to help providers better support older adults who are experiencing or have experienced domestic abuse. This guide has been informed by a survey to identify practitioners’ perceptions of the incidence and types of domestic abuse; key challenges facing providers in supporting older people experiencing domestic abuse; and what organisations have in place to support older people experiencing domestic abuse and to support staff.

Our guide focuses on improving the understanding of older people experiencing domestic abuse so that providers can confidently respond to the diverse and multiple needs of older people. Our guide provides information and practical advice, good practice examples, and signposting to other resources. As always, sheltered and retirement housing providers play a key role in recognising signs of domestic abuse amongst older people and we want to play our part in ensuring staff are equipped to address incidents effectively. 

This briefing has been produced in partnership with Dewis Choice and  Aberystwyth University.

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