A NEW campaign has been launched shining the spotlight on older victims of domestic abuse – and urging them to come forward.

West Yorkshire Police say domestic abuse is not traditionally associated with elderly people.

But in the 12 months up to September this year, the force recorded 2,189 domestic incidents involving a victim aged over 65.

The new initiative is also raising awareness of the fact that whilst physical assault by a partner is one of the most common types of abuse, it can take on other forms – such as controlling or coercive behaviour.

A major focus of the campaign is the financial abuse of older people, such as a younger family member getting the victim to hand over money.

Of the reported incidents involving over-65s in the past year, eight per cent related to theft.

And in 32 per cent of cases, a son was the perpetrator.

Chief Superintendent Joanne Morgan, head of safeguarding with West Yorkshire Police, says the force is committed to protecting vulnerable people and tackling domestic abuse in all its forms.

She added: “Anyone can be a victim or perpetrator of domestic abuse – regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Older people can be a victim from their child, grandchild, partner, husband or wife.

“The misconception is that domestic abuse has to be physical. This simply isn’t the case – there are people living with all kinds of abusive behaviour, from controlling to financial abuse.

“We know that there are challenges around victims being reluctant to report members of their family to the police.

“We have dedicated multi-agency safeguarding specialists across all our districts whose primary objective is protecting people from harm and keeping them safe. If you do not want to speak to police, there are other agencies that can offer you support.

“Our number one priority in all cases of abuse is protecting the victim and any other people that could be vulnerable and taking steps to keep them safe.”

The campaign is being supported by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, who is also the national Association of Police & Crime Commissioners lead for tackling serious violence.

He said: “This campaign really symbolises the principles which sit at the very heart of my Police and Crime Plan – protecting the most vulnerable within our communities.

“It will help challenge many of the societal assumptions or misconceptions that are often made around domestic abuse, whilst increasing awareness of how this crime can manifest itself, irrespective of gender or age.

“The pandemic brings this type of offence into sharper focus.”

For advice, visit westyorkshire.police.uk/ElderAbuse.