South Tyneside organisations raise awareness of domestic violence for White Ribbon Day 2019

Organisations from across South Tyneside have pledged their support to a campaign raising awareness of domestic abuse in the borough for White Ribbon Day 2019.

The international campaign working to end violence against women takes place annually on November 25 and this year set out to highlight domestic violence among elderly people.

In an all-day event to mark the campaign on Monday, staff from Impact Family Services handed out white ribbons and shared information with the public at Age Concern on Beach Road, South Shields.

One in six older people living in the UK will experience physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse each year.

Julie Robinson from Impact family services (centre right) with Norma Thompson (centre left) from Age Concern along with (left to right) Gemma Copeland and Adele Hall from DV Support, Graeme Littlewood (Domestic Abuse Coordinator, South Tyneside Council), Leah Collinson (Safeguarding Children's Partnership, Safeguarding Adults Board), Grahame Cassidy (Age Concern Tyneside), Rebecca Newton (Solicitor PGS Law) and Nichola Short (Northumbria Police) at the launch of The White Ribbon Campaign. Picture by FRANK REID

Staff from support services and organisations such as South Tyneside Homes and Age Concern attended a briefing about the issues which disproportionately affect older people.

South Tyneside Council’s domestic violence coordinator, Graeme Littlewood commented: “Whilst the impact of domestic abuse is grave for all victims, certain groups experience additional challenges and barriers.

“Historically, many surveys and studies have excluded consideration for victims aged 60+, and awareness raising campaigns have consistently focused on younger victims and perpetrators. This can serve to reinforce the false assumption that abuse ceases to exist beyond a certain age.”

Several organisations in the region, including Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police have also taken the White Ribbon campaign pledge, promising to “never commit, excuse or remain silent about male violence against women.”

Julie Robinson from Impact holding a white ribbon and information leaflets. Picture by FRANK REID

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “Abusive relationships can be difficult to leave at any age, but for older victims there can be issues that make it even harder.

“There can be many misconceptions – ‘it can’t be that serious if she’s put up with it all those years’ or ‘he’s too old and frail to be abusive’- these are absolutely wrong. A Christmas campaign by Northumbria Police this year will challenge these and help raise awareness that there are older victims who need help. Age Concern has my full support in bringing this issue to the forefront.”

Julie Robinson service manager at Impact, said: “On behalf of Impact Family services I would like to say thank you to all the people who participated in the event.”