Hundreds of older victims of domestic abuse will be able to access vital advice and support, thanks to a grant from South Wales Freemasons to the RCT Domestic Abuse Services charity.
The £70,000 grant will fund the Elder Project, which aims to break down the barriers that have previously prevented victims of domestic abuse aged over 60 from accessing support services.
The project, the first of its kind in Wales, will provide a range of information, signposting and support services to male and female victims of elder abuse. It will help deliver one to one, group and remote support across three community drop in centres, located in Aberdare, Pontypridd and Tonypandy. The aim is to increase well-being, support group programmes, and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. RCT will also provide surgeries for external agencies, including legal, debt management, housing, benefits and health surgeries.
RCT works in partnership with police, social services, housing, and community organisations to raise awareness and promote the project to beneficiaries. The charity has demonstrated very positive outcomes from their domestic abuse support, for example showing 90 per cent of beneficiaries stated they were able to recognise the early warning signs of abusive behaviour and felt they had increased ability to keep safe within their relationships, and 90 per cent stated that they felt increased confidence in their ability to create a safe environment for themselves and their family.
Older generations can have very different attitudes and experiences to domestic abuse than young people, and it is therefore beneficial to have separate groups to encourage sharing. For example, certain behaviours that would now be classified as domestic abuse may have been seen as acceptable in the past, and victims can often have the attitude of not wanting to cause a fuss.
Research has demonstrated that people over 60 are five times more likely to become victims of financial abuse, coercive control, physical and psychological abuse and social isolation by a family member. In 2021-22 there were 395 incidents of elder abuse reported to police in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The grant from South Wales Freemasons comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Charlie Arthur CEO at RCT Domestic Abuse Services, said:
“We’re extremely grateful to South Wales Freemasons for helping us to provide essential support to older people experiencing domestic abuse. We’re hopeful the impact and achievements of the project can be used to enable other domestic abuse support services to develop similar projects in other areas of Wales and England”.
Robert Payne at South Wales Freemasons, said:
“I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help RCT with their hugely important support for older victims of domestic abuse. These are abuse victims who have often been invisible to wider society and it’s very encouraging to see attention being paid to their needs at last.”
Photo Left to Right : Merrick Jones (South Wales Freemasons), Emma Williams (Development Manager), Carly Lightfoot (Elder Project Officer), Charlie Arthur (CEO), Claire Meecham (Support Liaison Officer), Robert Payne (South Wales Freemasons)