Hourglass (Safer Ageing) is the only UK-wide charity supporting older victim-survivors of abuse. Two years ago, Hourglass partnered with the Sussex PCC to ensure that specialist Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) were employed in that community to support and protect older people. This partnership has been a success, and we believe is a case study for how older people should be supported in all other communities.
The evidence from Sussex is that these local IDVAs are a crucial lifeline for older victim-survivors. Hourglass urges the Government, through legislation and subsequent guidance, to encourage the commissioning of specialist support services for older people. Police & Crime Commissioners must look to what has been achieved in Sussex and be more ambitious and proactive in the support they provide older people in their communities.
The Victims and Prisoners Bill, if strengthened, has the potential to be a useful vehicle to advance specialist services for older victims in England and Wales. Ultimately legislation alone is not enough. We need those who commission abuse services to remember older people and understand the barriers they face when using generic services.
Learning from Sussex: why we need specialist local support for older victim-survivors.