It may be that your partner or family member is controlling your life by making all the major decisions. It may be that they are harming you in some way, but it is never too late to seek support to be safe and happy.
The information below will help think through your options, and decide what to do to improve your safety and wellbeing.
Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.
Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.
Domestic abuse can happen within any family dynamic, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability or religion. It also includes honour based violence, forced marriage and FGM (female genital mutilation). Splitz have a specialist tool-kit for Black Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, that includes support for travellers, and can be accessed online at Splitz.org.
Domestic abuse and sexual violence can happen to anyone - any age, gender, sex or religion. In many ways people later in life can be more vulnerable, due to age related factors - particularly health and finances. Abuse is equally as serious whenever it is experienced in life.
No matter what your age, you have the right to live a life free from abuse. You have the rest of your life to live and deserve to be happy and safe.
Older people can be just as abusive as younger people. Abuse can be equally as serious when perpetrated by an older person. There could be increased risk due to dementia, mental health issues and terminal illness. No matter what the cause of the behaviour, the result is the same. There is no excuse for abuse.
Whether you jointly own your own home, have a shared tenancy or have a home adapted specifically to your needs (or the needs of your partner/family member) - you will always have choices to ensure your safety and well-being. This could be accessing support to feel safer in your own home, or access to alternative safe accommodation.
You can call or visit your local district council and they may have a legal duty to provide you with alternative accommodation. Options that may be available to you in an emergency are:
Options that may be available to you for a planned move are:
If you are feeling unsafe and want to prevent a partner/family member from treating you badly in any way, you can seek legal advice as you may be eligible to apply for protective orders.
Many solicitors will provide half an hour of free advice. You may also qualify for Legal Aid which will help to meet the costs of legal support, depending on your financial situation. If you are not eligible for Legal Aid there is still free support available via Splitz Support Service or Support Through Court.
Having little or no control over finances or being forced to have total control of the finances can be unhealthy. Economic issues can create instability, fear, and loss of control.
You may be entitled to benefits, such as universal credit, state pension, pension credit, carer's allowance, disability allowance or Personal Independence Payments (PIP). The button below will take you to a calculator which will help you work out what you may be entitled to.
Finances can seem like a minefield but they do not have to be. Seek advice and support as soon as possible - the sooner the better. Support is always available.
Please use the link below to read the Relationships in Later Life publication. If you need a paper copy, you can contact Splitz and they will post one to you.