Council campaign aims to raise awareness of domestic violence against older people

Camden Council's 'Know It's Not Too Late' campaign aimed at the over-50s is hoping to repeat the success of an earlier campaign aimed at a younger age group which saw domestic abuse referrals increase by 40%

Camden Council’s awareness-raising campaign, ‘Know It’s Not Too Late’, aimed at the over-50s in relation to domestic abuse emphasises that it’s never too late in life to get help. The campaign, launched this month, features posters at bus stops, health centres, community organisations and businesses. Presentations and leaflets have also been developed for GP surgeries in the borough. All depict older people in four abusive scenarios: physical abuse, financial abuse, being isolated, and being controlled.

The targeted campaign follows the success of a similar one aimed at 16- to 25-year-olds in 2014 called ‘Know This Isn’t Love’, which saw referrals to the borough’s domestic violence service, Camden Safety Net, increase by over 40% among this age group by the end of the year.

One of Camden Council's campaign posters

One of Camden Council’s campaign posters

Nationally, the majority of domestic abuse referrals come from the 25-40 age group, so the local authority decided to focus on each end of the age spectrum. As part of its commitment to addressing the issue, Camden Council is working with London domestic abuse charity Solace Women’s Aid to train GPs through the IRIS programme (identification and referral to improve safety) in domestic abuse awareness, care pathways and referral pathways. A key message will be to remember that older people can also be victims.

Training GPs to recognise abuse

When a patient sees their GP with a complaint, this training will educate family doctors in how to recognise when that should trigger questions around potential domestic abuse and the patient will be offered the support of a domestic violence advocate.

Additionally, just over a year ago, Camden Safety Net placed independent domestic and sexual violence advisers in two of the borough’s hospitals. Both of these pilots have been funded via Camden’s clinical commissioning group.

The GP training and the placing of the independent advisers in hospitals is proving very successful. Beforehand, in any given year, Camden Safety Net only received three referrals from health professionals and Solace Women’s Aid  only received one referral from Camden GPs. Since this training began in 2014, referrals from Camden GPs have increased to over 100 and referrals from the hospitals currently stand at over 250.

Social work training around domestic abuse is also going to be refreshed in light of the new Care Act. The local authority is in the process of designing a package around safeguarding and domestic abuse, looking at the relationship between the two.

Camden Safety Net provides independent domestic and sexual violence advisers who conduct risk assessments and devise and implement safe action plans with people experiencing domestic and sexual violence. It works in partnership with Solace Women’s Aid, Victim Support, Hestia Camden Domestic Abuse Service, Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre and Camden LGBT Forum.

Anyone who is experiencing domestic violence and abuse in the London borough can contact Camden Safety Net confidentially on 020 7974 2526.  

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