Domestic abuse support group sees increasing pleas from older generations

File photo dated 05/12/08 of the hands of a resident at a nursing home as there has been a steep ris

More older people are coming forward about living with domestic abuse. - Credit: PA

Increasing numbers of older people are turning to a Norwich domestic abuse support group for help - and many are suffering at the hands of people closest to them.

Lorraine Curston, 55, founder of Dawn's New Horizon, said the past 18 months had been "heartbreaking" with men and women asking for support during lockdown. 

The group, which has a charity shop and advice hub on Cannerby Lane, Sprowston, said increasingly they were hearing from people over the age of 70.

Lorraine Curston, founder of Dawn's New Horizon domestic abuse support group, outside its charity sh

Lorraine Curston, founder of Dawn's New Horizon domestic abuse support group, outside its charity shop on Cannerby Lane, Sprowston, in April 2021. - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

She said: "More people were coming forward. The issue of elder abuse was also brought to our attention. People aged 70 and over were coming forward for help. I found that hard."

Mrs Curston said older people were experiencing abuse from loved ones. 

She added that children of elderly couples were also stealing money and food from them, partly because of financial struggles.

She said the group managed to put the victims in touch with support and the abuse of older people was more psychological than physical.

"It is scary. I don't think elder abuse itself is on the rise but people are not tolerating it as much and are coming forward," Mrs Curston added.

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Jo Willingham, information and advice manager for Age UK Norwich, said it heard of the elder abuse issue through a domestic abuse charity.

She said: "It has an impact on your confidence and self-worth. If it is around financial abuse it takes its toll."

Ms Willingham urged anyone in an abusive situation to seek help.

The group normally supports 1,000 people each year but during the pandemic it helped an extra 650 people through accommodation, counselling or giving away food and clothes parcels.

As recognition of her work throughout the pandemic, Mrs Curston received a Points of Light award given out by the prime minister.

Mandy Proctor, chief executive of Leeway, the charity providing support to those experiencing domest

Mandy Proctor, chief executive of Leeway, the charity providing support to those experiencing domestic abuse. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Denise Bradley

Mandy Proctor, chief executive of domestic abuse charity Leeway, said: “Throughout the pandemic we have seen increases in the number of people contacting Leeway for support and we expect this to continue as we return to a greater sense of normality."

Between September 2018 and March 2020 Leeway's advice and support service attracted 5,234 people. 

From April 2020 until September 2021 the service had 15,112 calls.

Call Dawn's New Horizon on 07854 044680 or Leeway on 0300 5610077.

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