Myth Busting: Domestic abuse happens to younger women

Myth: Domestic abuse happens to younger women

Domestic violence is often portrayed as something that happens to younger women. However, research conducted in the USA suggests that older and younger women experience abuse to a similar extent, a finding supported by statistics from Australia that indicate that a third of current victims of domestic violence are older women.

However we don’t see evidence of this in our referrals - in the last 12 months just 4% of our clients were over 60.

We know that older women face additional barriers to accessing services -

  • having lived in an era where domestic violence was not seen as an actionable crime

  • there is an increased risk of experiencing abuse from an adult family abuse

  • older victims are significantly more likely to have a disability – for a third, this is physical

  • additional concerns around worry about their independence, losing financial control, leaving a lifetime home, being placed into care

  • professionals’ lack of awareness can also inhibit reporting

  • the overlap between elder abuse and domestic violence resulting in victims falling between services

What are we doing?

We are currently working with the Thanet Domestic Abuse Forum to think about what we can do to improve access to services for older people experiencing domestic abuse. Over the next three months, we will be asking people to tell us their thoughts on local improvements, training, systemic and practice developments that could happen to help us give a better response.

If you want to contribute to this conversation with thoughts, ideas and anything else then please email