New research aims to improve help and support for older people experiencing abuse


The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales is undertaking new research to identify gaps in services that prevent older people who are experiencing abuse from getting the help and support they need to keep them safe.

The research will identify the availability and type of services being delivered throughout Wales and will examine whether the support currently available is sufficient to ensure older people can access the help they need, when and where they need it.

As part of the research, the Commissioner’s team will be speaking with older survivors of abuse, to hear about their experiences of accessing support, and the issues and challenges they faced. Evidence will also be captured from stakeholders working across the public and third sectors, and through reviewing data published by the Welsh Government and local authorities.

In addition, the research will identify good practice and consider how this could be delivered more widely to improve the support available to older people.

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:

“Thousands of older people in Wales experience abuse every year, but many older survivors of abuse have told me about the struggles they faced to get the help and support they needed during the most difficult times.

“In some cases, this was due to services simply not being available, while in others, services were unable to meet older people’s needs.

“That’s why I have commissioned this research, so we can get a true picture of the help and support available for older people who are experiencing or are at risk of abuse, identify unacceptable gaps in provision, and provide robust evidence to drive change for older people.”

The research is being undertaken by InsideOut: Organisational Solutions (IOOS), whose owner, Dr Norma Barry, said:

“The Older People’s Commissioner should be commended for initiating this work.

“Abuse of older people in Wales is hidden to some extent but is becoming more evident as the number of older people living in Wales is increasing, coupled with the consequences of living with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“There is some evidence to suggest that there is a reluctance amongst older people experiencing domestic and financial abuse to access services and that the support available does not always meet their particular needs.”

Rhian Bowen-Davies, the first National Adviser to Welsh Government on Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence is part of the team undertaking this research. Rhian added:

“This work provides an opportunity to find out from survivors and practitioners 'what works' in terms of service delivery and where improvements are needed to inform future policy and practice in Wales.”

The Commissioner will publish her findings in the New Year and will set out the action needed to deliver the required improvements to ensure that older people can quickly, easily and safely access the help and support they may need.