A recent report has found that older men are unable to escape abusive relationships because they face certain barriers when seeking help. Paralegal Elizabeth Ellis from Coodes’ Family Law team, says more needs to be done to break down the stigma for sufferers…
The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots, recently published a report showing a lack of resources when it comes to helping male sufferers of domestic abuse.
Part of this is down to the fact that fewer men than women come forward to report incidents, but it is also because domestic abuse where older men are the victims is rarely talked about.
Heléna Herklots warned it could put older men at risk of physical and psychological harm and that much more needs to be done to raise awareness about the scale of the issue.
Under the radar
It is estimated that one in four victims of domestic abuse are male, with older men at greater risk.
Figures from police forces in 2021, published by the Office for National Statistics, found the highest proportion in male domestic abuse victims was in men aged 75 years and over (34 per cent). The figures are certainly cause for concern, but what is also alarming is the lack of awareness about the problem.
Domestic abuse with men as the victim is quite common but it is one of those issues that is rarely spoken about. It is very much under the radar. This is probably because men are less likely to come forward and report abuse in the first place. They might feel like it makes them less masculine if they admit there is a problem and that they suffer this kind of behaviour at home.
There is also a widespread attitude that men just do not take abuse from women. It is almost a taboo subject.
Not just physical
Domestic abuse comes in many forms. There is, of course, the physical violence but there is also the psychological side, the gradual drip, drip, drip of eroding someone’s self-esteem to the point where they feel like they cannot better their situation, or even that they are lucky to be with someone like their abuser. They end up normalising abuse that has been going on for a long time to protect their partner.
The right help
If anyone of any age is suffering abuse and needs to leave, we can help signpost them to the organisations that can help. There is support out there specifically for male victims and we can point people in the right direction.
We can also provide support around obtaining protective orders, such as non-molestation orders (to protect you physically) or occupation orders (to regulate occupation of a house), where required. More details on these orders can be found here.
Talk about it
Heléna Herklots’ report has called on the Welsh government and other public bodies to improve services and support through raising awareness and improving understanding of older men’s experiences.
This is something that the whole of the UK needs to address. We need to talk about domestic abuse, wherever it happens.
Older men should not feel ashamed or embarrassed because it is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. They are a victim of abuse and there is support out there.
We need to try to address the lack of understanding about the prevalence and nature of domestic abuse among older men.
The more we can do to raise the profile of this hidden issue, the better it will be for victims.
Get the right advice
Our highly experienced team here at Coodes is here to help. For more information or to speak to a member of our team, call 0800 328 3282 or contact us via our online form.