Ninety-year-old domestic abuse victims among increasing numbers coming forward in Colchester and Tendring
Domestic abuse victims as old as 90 are coming forward for the first time according to support services in Essex.
Colchester and Tendring Women’s Refuge has reported an increasing number of domestic violence victims – both men and women and aged anywhere between 16 and 90 – as part of Comic Relief’s announcement today that it would be funding projects which support domestic violence victims.
Staff have reported that north Essex has experienced the rise alongside much of the nation, but specifically pointed to a higher number of older people and men as victims speaking for the first time.
Over the last two years, around 1,200 victims in Colchester and Tendring have come forward.
Sanna Westwood, joint chief executive at Colchester and Tendring Women’s Refuge, said that having special advisors based at Colchester Hospital and being able to help other health professionals identify the signs of domestic abuse has helped.
“It’s enabling the staff and health professionals to recognise signs of domestic abuse and be in a position to signpost people to services,” she said.
“We have been going out there and actively trying to find them. The issue is they are hidden but now we have a position in hospitals, community centres, GPs and a range of health professionals who will recognise the sign of abuse.”
Staff at the refuge centre said that getting victims to talk, and providing a space where they felt comfortable to talk, was a key part of its progress, but recognised that preventative measures such as relationship education in schools and work with police was also needed.
The centre has received funding from Comic Relief of more than £104,000 in the last two years, with the national cause reiterating its support for domestic violence victim projects ahead of this year’s Red Nose Day next month.
Gilly Green, head of UK grants for Comic Relief, said: “Domestic abuse is still a reality for far too many people and help often comes too late.
“It is vital that we keep the spotlight on domestic abuse, encourage more women to seek help, and make sure that they receive the support they need as early and as easily as possible.”
For anyone who thinks they may be a victim of domestic violence, call 01206 500585 to find out what support is available.