Handling & Dealing with Elder Abuse

This post is a part of our guide series to support anyone who may have been a victim of Elder Abuse in the past or has questions around the topic:

What is Elder Abuse? Definitions & Meanings
Who Commits Elder Abuse & Why?
What are the Signs & Symptoms of Elder Abuse?
Handling & Dealing with Elder Abuse
How to Report Elder Abuse (and Who to Report it to)
How can Elder Abuse be Prevented?
Elder Abuse Data & Statistics
Elder Abuse Helplines, Support & Further Reading

Unfortunately, elder abuse is becoming more prevalent in the UK. It can be a traumatic experience for victims being abused by people whom they trust, or by people responsible for their care.

This may cause a lot of confusion and victims may be too vulnerable or scared to reach out. However, it is important for the victims to speak to someone about what is happening to them. There are lots of organisations that provide help and support for victims of elder abuse.

This guide helps with useful information on how to deal with elder abuse for those currently trapped in this situation, or have a loved one who is a victim of this abuse.

How do I escape a situation where I am a victim of Elder Abuse?

It is a natural reaction to trust people who should be caring for you, so it can be a confusing and frightening experience when you are abused by these people. Remember you should feel safe and loved and abuse is not acceptable under any circumstances. Reach out for help, whether this is within the family or external support will depend on the circumstances, but you must ensure someone is aware of your situation.

Take your time to really think about what you can do to stay safe. Do not confront the abuser or do anything that will put your safety at risk. Ask some trusted people in your life if they could support you with escaping, this may be arranging to be collected, a place to stay or help with contacting the police. However, If you are in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.

What should I do if I have no family or friends to help me?

Remember if you don’t have any family or friends to help, there are lots of organisations that are able to support you in situations like this. You may wish to report your concerns to the local authority or GP in confidence, they will be able to give you advice regarding safeguarding. Depending on the severity of the abuse, you may need to contact the police. It’s important to know that there is help and support available, as difficult as it may seem, you will need to build the courage and reach out. Abuse should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

What should I do if I am being abused in a care home or by a carer?

If you are being abused in a care home, you should speak to family and friends about what is happening to you, remember they cannot help you if they don’t know your situation. We understand how difficult this may be as you may feel too scared of the abuser/s, however, know that speaking up and reaching out for help is the first step towards ending the abuse. If you do not have friends and family then try speaking to your GP, local authority or police, depending on your situation.

If you are being abused by a carer, this may be a family member or someone close to you, you may wish to speak to someone external, this may be your GP or other NHS staff, in confidence.

What should an elderly victim try to do if they suspect a violent episode may be coming from their abuser?

If they are ever put in this unfortunate position where there is a risk of someone becoming violent, firstly it’s important to try to look out for the warning signs so they are able to try and diffuse their anger.

They should not attempt to fight with this person or do anything that will put their safety at risk. As difficult as it may be, they should try to stay calm knowing that they will be in a better position to plan a safe escape when the abuser has calmed down or left. Of course, it will be very difficult or impossible to think clearly when you are in a situation where the abuse is being carried out.  However If the abuser detects any sign of the victim seeking help, it could make the situation worse.

The elderly person should contact the police on 999, as soon as it is safe for them to do so.

How should a victim try and handle the emotional and verbal abuse that comes with Elder Abuse?

Verbal and emotional abuse can leave the victim with deep lasting wounds which are not always apparent. Reaching out and talking to someone is really important, if you find you are unable to speak to friends and family, then consider someone independent, this may be a counsellor or therapist. Keep reminding yourself that you will not allow anyone to cross that line. Surround yourself with people you love and support you, they can help you to regain feelings of positivity.

What should I do if my finances are being abused?

Remember everyone has a right to make independent financial decisions, if someone is controlling your financial affairs for their own benefit then this needs to be stopped. There are lots of organisations that can give you help and advice, if you think this may be difficult then arrange an appointment with your GP and speak to them in confidence. Your GP or other NHS healthcare providers will be able to arrange some support for you.

What should I do if I suspect an elderly person I know is being abused?

It can be extremely distressing knowing someone is involved in this situation. Whether it is someone you know or a stranger, you would want to help. This can be difficult if the victim is too scared to talk about their experiences, but there will always be ways in which you can assist. If you think the elderly person is in immediate danger then contact 999. If not are unable to speak to the individual directly, you may want to speak to others who know them or social services. How and to who you report the abuse will depend entirely on the circumstances and this will vary for each individual. But it is important that you speak out and share your concerns.

We understand how difficult it is to see someone you know or love experiencing abuse, sometimes trying to help a victim is not easy. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and the first step that you should take is to talk to someone. No one should have to deal with abuse alone.

Here at the Criminal Injuries Helpline, we help victims of violent crime and abuse recover compensation. You may want to help the victim gain some justice, get in touch with us today to see if the victim would qualify.

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