Sometimes it isn’t easy to accept that you’re a victim of abuse, and it can be very difficult to tell someone else. If the person causing the abuse is a close family member or a friend, someone you trust and care about it can feel even harder to speak out.
It may be easier speaking to someone outside of your immediate family and friends, who understands what you’re going through, and what to do to make things better. Hourglass are the only helpline that focuses on and supports elderly people live safe lives. Trained and experienced staff and volunteers will listen to your concerns and provide suggestions and advice.
It’s free to call, and entirely confidential. The number won’t appear on a phone bill. The helpline will always look to respect your privacy, but there may be occasions when this isn’t possible, for example if you or someone else is in immediate danger.
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Whether it's you or a loved one, help is on hand
There are many people you can talk to. If you feel you are being abused or neglected:
- Don’t worry about making a fuss – tell someone you trust as soon as possible
- Speak to friends or care workers who may understand your situation and be able to take steps quickly to improve things for you
- Talk to professionals such as your GP or social worker about your concerns, or ask to speak to your local council’s adult safeguarding team or co-ordinator
- Call Hourglass on 0808 808 8141 for advice
- If you believe a crime is being, or has been, committed – whether it’s physical abuse or financial – talk to the police or ask someone you trust to do it for you
Things to think about:
If you feel that you might be at risk of abuse, there are some things to think about here that might help reduce the chances of it happening:
- Keep in touch with friends or neighbours that you trust
- If you move to a new address, keep in touch with them after you’ve moved
- Encourage your friends to come and visit you at home and try to join a local group or club, having people to talk to and reasons to go out can help
- Have regular medical or dental appointments. Your dentists and doctor are people who you can talk to about abuse
- If you rely on others to post your mail then try to use more than one person
- Plan ahead, talk to a solicitor about arrangements that you can make for the future management of your property, possessions or your money
- No one should keep from you the details of your finances or property management
- Check documents with someone independent of the issue before signing
If you’re worried an older person is at risk or being abused, it is important to act.
- You can call Hourglass on 0808 808 8141 to get advice and support on how to help
- Try to speak to them about what you’ve noticed, be as open and honest as possible. Give them the opportunity to talk and listen carefully to what they tell you, offering to seek help if that is appropriate
- If someone has told you about their situation, you might want to talk to other people who know them to see if they have similar concerns
- There are also professionals you can contact. You can pass on your concerns to their GP and social worker
- Local authorities have social workers who deal specifically with cases of abuse and neglect. Call the local council and ask for the adult safeguarding co-ordinator
- You can also speak to the police about the situation. Some forms of abuse are crimes, so the police will be interested. If they’re no longer in danger or they need medical attention, call their GP (if known) or emergency services if immediate help is needed.
Things to think about:
- Be sensitive to the emotional impact of disclosing about abuse – it can be a big decision for someone to admit
- Stay calm if an older person begins disclosing, they’ll benefit from a
- Do not falsely promise confidentiality, accounts of abuse might affect more than one person and you may have a responsibility to tell someone.
- Where appropriate, explain the different people who might be able to help, such as health or social care professionals, police, home carers, care home employees or volunteers and advocates.
- Where appropriate, approach one of these people yourself and ask what action might be taken.
- Bear in mind the potential stigma towards abuse, consider whether the older person in question is comfortable talking to someone from their own community or family.
- If you work in health or social care, speak to your line manager immediately.