Veteran broadcaster and Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen made a guest appearance to launch a Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service conference.
The conference, held on International Day of Older Persons, was organised to raise awareness of domestic abuse of older people.
It was provided free of charge for anyone working with older people thanks to a support from charity Independent Age, and more than 120 people from Swindon and across the South West attended.
During a personal keynote address, Dame Esther spoke of the enormous responsibility of attendees and Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service to protect older people before inviting attendees to share their own advice and experience and tell her how she could help in their work.
Emma Rawlings, CEO of Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service, said: “We’re very grateful to have received this support from Independent Age, which will enable us to continue to expand our reach and make sure even more people get the help they need.
"Older people can sometimes find themselves especially vulnerable, particularly during this difficult year.
"We’re now in the position to be able to respond directly to that need by expanding our own services but also by providing training and guidance to many more dedicated people who care for them every day.”
Following a welcome from Emma Rawlings, attendees were given the latest research findings and best practice guidance for supporting older people suffering domestic abuse by Lucy Giles, Knowledge Hub Advisor from SafeLives.
Giles Spear, National Wellbeing Advisor from Independent Age, then explained how the two charities are working together to improve support to older people suffering domestic abuse and the additional concerns which must be addressed to improve safety during the pandemic.
He said: "One in four victims of domestic homicides is over the age of 60, and, on average, older victims experience abuse for twice as long before seeking help.
"That's why we're supporting Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service to share their specialist knowledge with other professionals within the older persons care area."
Help and advice can be found at www.swadomesticabuse.org. The charity's 24-hour helpline is free to call on 01793 610 610.