What to do if you suspect an elderly vulnerable person is being abused

Domestic abuse is a term commonly associated with ‘battered wives’, but in a Crime Survey conducted in 2020, the Office for National Statistics established that 1 in 50 people aged 75+ in England and Wales had been subjected to domestic abuse in the previous twelve months.

Domestic abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional, or economic, but there are specific age-related differences in the type of abuse affecting older victims in particular, as well as an increased danger of victims being male.

Vulnerable older people with care and support needs can be at greater risk of abuse, particularly in the form of neglect, and research suggests that almost half a million over-65s will experience some form of abuse or neglect, whether that is in a care home setting or in their own home.

Economic abuse is potentially the greatest risk for older people, who are often reliant upon their abuser for care and support. In addition they may have to hand over the handling of their financial affairs to someone else, due to mental or physical incapacity or both.

In the current economic climate, there is sadly a growing trend of financial abuse. This may involve a family member who is abusing their power of attorney, or it could be a stranger using persuasive power to get a vulnerable older person to part with a large amount of their money in a scam.

If you are a victim of domestic abuse, or you think someone you know is suffering abuse, you need to speak out. If you are worried about voicing concern to someone involved in social welfare, then contact a solicitor who specialises in domestic abuse.

A solicitor can put an application in to the Court of Protection for the revocation of a Lasting Power of Attorney, or the suspension, discharge, replacement or variation of a deputyship. They can also contact the Police, Adult Social Care, or the Office of the Public Guardian, and request that the local authority place the abuse victim into safekeeping. Finally, a solicitor can help to put together a compensation claim for a domestic abuse victim’s pain and suffering. Look out for a law firm that has Solicitors for the Elderly.

Elzbeth Kenny, Senior Solicitor at GHP Legal

Elzbeth Kenny

Senior Solicitor

Part of our Criminal and Mental Health teams in Wrexham.