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Sudbury elder abuse charity Hourglass seeks to bring 'hidden epidemic' out into open ahead of new ITV documentary on coercive control

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A radical increase in specialised support is needed for elderly people at risk of abuse, a Sudbury-based charity has argued, ahead of its appearance in a nationally-televised documentary on coercive control.

Tonight at 8.30pm, ITV is airing Controlled By My Partner? The Hidden Abuse, exploring the complex form of domestic abuse, and the emotional and psychological toll it takes on the victim when they are older.

The programme is being presented by ITV broadcaster Ruth Dodsworth – herself a victim of coercive control during her former marriage.

Richard Robinson, CEO of the Hourglass charity which helps victims of elder abuse..Pic - Richard Marsham. (55760072)
Richard Robinson, CEO of the Hourglass charity which helps victims of elder abuse..Pic - Richard Marsham. (55760072)

As part of the documentary, Hourglass – the only UK charity solely focused on victims of elder abuse – is highlighting the lack of specialist help available to more than a million older people who are impacted by abuse nationally each year.

The organisation, which moved its headquarters from Long Melford to Sudbury last year, also warned that coercive control later in life is only set to increase, due to higher numbers of people living with dementia and living longer with physical disabilities.

It is now calling for dedicated practitioners to be installed within front-line services to support victims, and is offering training to ensure police, NHS and social care workers can spot signs of abuse.

Richard Robinson, chief executive of Hourglass, said: “The pandemic increased social isolation, the social care crisis, a stretched criminal justice system, a lack of public awareness – all have contributed to unacceptable levels of abuse being experienced by older people.

“So many people are suffering and don’t know where to turn for help.

“We must bring this hidden epidemic out into the open and support older people who are experiencing it to get the help they desperately need.”

Hourglass recently launched a 24/7 helpline, and is urging older people who might be affected, or their family members and friends, to get in touch right away on 0808 808 8141.

Further information is available online here.