OLDER women were described as the ‘invisible victims’ of domestic violence at a seminar in Ballymena last week.
Members of Women’s Aid marked ‘World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’ at an informative event in All Saints Parish Centre.
Rosemary Magill, CEO of Women’s Aid acknowleded the lack of research undertaken in NI and the difficulties in reaching older women who are impacted upon by domestic violence.
She said: ‘’Older women are the invisible victims of domestic violence in our society. It is believed that domestic and sexual violence does not affect older women and we need to dispel this myth.
“The oldest woman in Refuge was 81 and had been a victim for 60 years.
We need to reach out to older women and communities to raise awareness of this heinous crime – offer support to victims and hold perpetrators accountable’’
Also speaking at the event were Chief Inspector Stephen Humphries who spoke on work of local Concern Hubs in Ballymena and Antrim and Dr Elizabeth Martin of Queens University Belfast, presented findings from recent research she had undertaken on domestic violence and older women.
At the event Women’s Aid ABCLN launched the Pathway Project for Older Women affected by domestic violence.
This project has been supported by AES UK & Ireland. Janice Hagan HR Business Partner, spoke of AES UK commitment and support for the new Pathways Project. Ms Hagan stated ’’Safety is our number one priority at AES, and we’re honoured to support the safety of some of the most vulnerable women in our community.’’