The UK's first safe house for women over 45 facing domestic abuse

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Until recently women over 45 facing domestic abuse haven't had anywhere dedicated solely to their recovery. Richinda Taylor, CEO of EVA Women's Aid explains the difference a new safe-house will make.

"Since 1987, EVA Women’s Aid has been supporting women and their families in Teeside, who are, or have been, victims of domestic or sexual abuse and violence. We work with women of all ages. Some are aged 80 and over, and have been subjected to violence and psychological control all of their adult lives.

Sadly many women believe that there’s no way out for them. We help them to see that there is.

Women over 45 have different needs to younger victims and we have found that when they are housed together, the older women tend to take on a maternal role. Often this is at the cost of their needs, which we wanted to ensure weren’t overlooked. So we opened the UK’s first safe house specifically for victims of domestic and sexual abuse over 45. A Charity Bank loan helped us purchase the property, which is now a place of refuge helping mature women who have been suffering in silence to change their lives."

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Understanding domestic violence

Domestic violence

  • leads to 2 women being killed every week in England and Wales (Office of National Statistics, 2015)
  • will affect 1 in 4 women in their lifetime (Crime Survey of England and Wales, 2013/14)
  • means there is a call for help to police every minute in the UK receive – even though only 35% of domestic violence incidents are reported to the police (Stanko, 2000 & Home Office, 2002)
  • is the single most quoted reason for becoming homeless (Shelter, 2002)

Cost to society

In November 2009, Sylvia Walby of the University of Leeds estimated the total costs of domestic violence to be £15.7 billion a year:

  • The costs to services (Criminal Justice System, health, social services, housing, civil legal) amount to £3.8 billion per year.
  • The loss to the economy – where women take time off work due to injuries – is £1.9 billion per year.
  • Domestic violence also leads to pain and suffering that is not counted in the cost of services. The human and emotional costs of domestic violence amount to almost £10 billion per year.