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2021: Domestic Abuse and Older People

The SAB annual conference was held on 16th November 2021 to coincide with National Adults Safeguarding Week. 

The theme of this year’s conference was Domestic abuse and older people, inspired by learning from recent Safeguarding Adult Reviews and Domestic Homicide Reviews.

A main focus of the Conference was the launch of our specially commissioned video highlighting domestic abuse in older adults and depicting events in the life of ‘Lily’, a fictional character but drawn from case studies and experts by experience, performed by the Miracle Theatre Company. This has been made available as a development tool for our partners to use with their staff in recognising and responding to signs of domestic abuse and coercion and control.

Recordings, presentations and speaker information 

Guest speakers background and biograph information 

1. Violence and abuse of older adults: Evidence, misconceptions, and where we go next. Dr Hannah Bows (LLB, MSc, PhD, FHEA) Hannah provides an overview of the available evidence on violence and abuse of adults aged 60 and over and consider what has shaped knowledge and understanding to date. In particular, the problems associated with the term 'elder abuse' will be examined, with a focus on how this concept has camouflaged domestic and sexual abuse of older adults. 


Presentation Slides

Miracle Theatre Group - Lily video launch and expert panel discussion Recording

2. Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence - Improving our response to those over the age of 60 (Newquay pilot)

Laura Ball; Safer Cornwall Domestic Abuse/Sexual Violence Strategy Manager

Dina Holder; Community Engagement Manger


Presentation Slides

3. The Ageing Population & Policing & Mind the gap model

Vashti Pearce; Specialist Problem Solver Devon and Cornwall Police


Presentation Slides

4. ‘The Insidious Nature of Coercive control’

Ryan Hart shared his family’s story of coercive control and domestic homicide. In 2017 Ryan and his brother Luke released their book, Remembered Forever, and set up their organisation, CoCoAwareness, to increase the awareness of coercive control. So far, their work has taken them to over 13 countries and they have trained tens of thousands of professionals in identifying, understanding, and ending domestic abuse. 

5. What’s really going on? The importance of routine enquiry to identify what’s hidden from sight - Anna MacGregor; Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator

Anna focuses on abusive relationships involving older persons, which have been identified as such and led to some form of safeguarding intervention and victim support. She considers how we can work together to improve routine enquiry to identify when an older person is at risk. Key to this is understanding how coercive and controlling behaviours manifest themselves and that these become more entrenched the longer a relationship goes on or when there are additional vulnerabilities such as care needs and increased dependence. Anna also discusses legal definitions and powers around coercive control, including developments within the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 and what this really means for those on the front-line working with people aged 60 plus.


Presentation slides

6. Local domestic abuse provision and support – where to go for help

Mel Francis; First Light Service Manager

Nigel Cox; Barnardo's Service Manager


Presentation Slides


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