Amplifying Voices Award

No Age Limit – Age UK

They have not been counted, as if their abuse didn’t count.

The Campaign

Shockingly, domestic abuse victims aged over 74 were excluded from statistics in the Crime Survey for England and Wales. Without data to show the problem, no funding was allocated for domestic abuse services targeted at older victims – an ageist data gap that left them unsupported and unacknowledged.

Age UK already knew from its frontline services that domestic abuse does not stop at a certain age. The Crime Survey showed that around 180,000 women and 98,000 older men aged 60-74 had experienced domestic abuse in 2018/19, but Age UK could only guess at the true extent of domestic abuse among over 74s.

No Age Limit gave a platform to older victims and survivors’ stories, which helped build a coalition of MPs and Peers who argued for the recognition of older victims and survivors in the Domestic Abuse Bill.


The Change

In December 2020 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) agreed to open the sensitive data module of the Crime Survey for England and Wales to over-74s – this is where domestic abuse data is collected. The ONS also pledged to provide the support needed to ensure a good response rate and usable data.

Data collection is vital because it helps councils, domestic abuse charities and the NHS to plan their services in response to the level of need in their communities. By winning recognition for older victims of domestic abuse in national statistics, No Age Limit has amplified the unheard voices of older victims and survivors and dramatically changed the future of services available to them.

Age UK commented on the warm welcome they received stepping into a space already crowded with organisations hoping to influence the Domestic Abuse Bill, saying it was characteristic of a sector that is incredibly dedicated to improving the lives of all victims and survivors of domestic abuse. They also noted how constructively parliamentarians, ministers and the Office for National Statistics engaged with their calls.


The Future

There is still a long way to go for older victims and survivors to get the support they need, and Age UK will continue amplifying their voices in their future work. It will continue campaigning for greater awareness that older people can be victims of domestic abuse, making sure that everyone – particularly doctors, nurses and social workers – can recognise and report signs of domestic abuse.

Age UK looks forward to working with the Office for National Statistics to help design research approaches that effectively capture the experiences of people aged 74 and over, ensuring their voices are heard.

Who else was involved?

People across Age UK – it was a team effort.

The Violence Against Women and Girls sector also supported the campaign. Women’s Aid, SafeLives and Agenda gave their time and expertise, from sharing knowledge of the Domestic Abuse Bill’s erratic progress through Parliament, to supporting our amendments, to writing a foreword for Age UK’s report when it was first published.