Safe Later Lives

Spotlight report on older people and domestic abuse

Victims of domestic abuse aged over 60 have historically been hidden from view and haven’t been represented in domestic abuse services. This serves to reinforce the false assumption that abuse ceases to exist beyond a certain age. Research shows that older victims of domestic abuse are likely to have lived with the abuse for prolonged periods before getting help.

This spotlight report focuses on older victims of domestic abuse and makes recommendations for practitioners and policymakers. The report is part of our Spotlights series, which focuses on hidden groups of domestic abuse victims.

  • 32%

    of victims over 60 are living with the perpetrator

    after getting support, compared to 9% for victims 60 and under

  • 44%

    of victims over 60 experience domestic abuse by a family member

    compared to 6% for victims 60 and under

Key issues

  • Systematic invisibility – older people are not being represented in domestic abuse services
  • Long term abuse and dependency issues
  • Generational attitudes about abuse may make it hard to identify
  • Increased risk of adult family abuse
  • Services are not effectively targeted at older victims, and do not always meet their needs
  • Need for more coordination between services


I felt pressured to leave my husband. I told them that this was my house and that I did not want to go into a council flat on the ground floor where I would not feel safe. I told them of my other physical issues but I did not feel listened to. They just wanted me to leave.


You may also be interested in