Domestic Violence Is Ageless

17 June, 2013


For immediate release

Domestic Violence Is Ageless

With the upcoming World Elder Abuse Day, Women’s Aid in Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey are highlighting the issue that older people in our community also experience domestic violence.

Women’s Aid is the lead agency offering support and refuge services to women and children who have or are currently experiencing domestic violence.  Abuse can happen to anyone regardless of social class, ethnicity, religion and age therefore Women’s Aid’s aim is to raise awareness of the issue in the week running up to World Elder Abuse Day on 15th June. 

Research has suggested that older people tend to be less likely to ask ‘strangers’ for help with personal or family problems.  As well as this, older women often have very different attitudes towards their roles as wives and mothers and may have endured domestic violence through the years when there was little or no help available to them.  They may well have sought help in the past and found themselves shunned.  There is also the possibility of illness, disability, economic dependence on a partner, perceived familial expectations (especially if they themselves are carers), shame at having lived with abuse for so long, isolation and an unwillingness to leave the home of a lifetime in later years.  Indeed there is the possibility that older women themselves assume that domestic violence is an issue for younger women and may not identify their experiences as being domestic violence.  This may be particularly true if the nature of abuse has changed over the years from a more physical form of violence to a more emotional form of abuse. 

Ase McWilliams, Floating Support Worker for Newtownabbey area said “We know there are older victims of domestic violence in our community, the majority of whom are women.  However the reality is that they are reluctant to come forward and seek support.  In the past year, Women’s Aid in Newtownabbey has supported approximately 300 women but only a small percentage of these were older women.  We would like to see an increased number of older women coming forward and hope that anyone in need of support will feel able to make contact”.

Grace McGurk, Community Resettlement Worker for the area added, “It is important to remember that domestic violence is not a one off incident but can happen anytime in our lives and builds up over a period of time, often years. The abuse is most commonly from a spouse or life partner, but for an older person the abuse can also be by another family member such as son or daughter.  Abuse does not stop once we reach a certain age”. 

1 in 4 women will suffer domestic violence in their lifetime, be it physical, sexual, psychological, financial, emotional or neglect.  Anyone living with abuse is not to blame for being abused, nor are they on their own – support from a range of agencies is available for them.    Don’t suffer in silence.

Women’s Aid will provide information and support to those living with abuse, informing them of options available including housing, financial and legal entitlements, all with the aim for women to be able to make informed decisions and positive life choices.  
Support can be accessed locally by calling 07851966517 or 07821402024, the 24hr Domestic Violence Helpline on 0800 917 1414 or read about our services by visiting

- ENDS -