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Elder abuse is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person. WHO further outlines that elder abuse constitutes a violation of human rights which can take the form of physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, financial abuse, neglect and serious loss of dignity and respect.

Age UK has released statistics which shows that over half a million people over the age of 65 will experience some form of abuse however, a lot of elder abuse is not known about as it occurs with the privacy of the elderly persons home and often, by their own family members. Further, elder abuse victims are less likely to report their abuse due to fear of others’ disbelief, fear of loss of independence, fear or losing their only social support if the perpetrator is a close relative who cares for them and the fear of further harm coming to them.

Section 62 of the Family Law Act 1996 defines a relative as an ‘associated person’, meaning a Non-Molestation order could be applied for to protect an individual from being subjected to abuse by a relative. This would prevent the perpetrator of abuse from certain acts to include (but not limited to) using or threatening to use any violence or abusive language, coming within a certain distance of the victims property or communicating with the victim.

Outside of the care setting, domestic abuse also occurs in relationships between older people. Age UK also released statistics that 23% of victims of recorded homicides are over the age of 60. This is therefore a reminder that there is no age limit on domestic abuse.

At Ramsdens, we will be supporting the national White Ribbon Day on 25 November, at the 16 days thereafter within the Action Against Domestic Abuse Week, to show our support to victims of any forms of abuse and to take action to end violence against women’s around the world.

If you think yourself, or someone you know could be a victim of elder abuse, please get in touch with our Family team. You can call us on 01484 821500 or email If you, or you believe someone you know is in serious danger, you must call the police on 999.

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