Elder Abuse

What is elder abuse?

If you are being hit, kicked, slapped, threatened, made to feel bad or stupid, isolated from friends and family, coerced or forced into sexual activity, financially exploited,or prevented from getting a job or from having access to money, you are being abused.

Anyone can be an abuser: spouse, partner, child, caretaker, companion, lover or friend. If you are being abused, you may feel frightened, ashamed, sad, worthless, that you deserve to be hurt, or that you must stay with your abuser.

“This is how it has always been.”

Many abused adults don’t think anything is wrong. You may have always thought that spouses or partners had the right to abuse you. You have the right to live without violence. There are people willing to listen and support you. YOU CAN GET HELP.

“My partner only abuses me after drinking or taking drugs.”

Substance abuse doesn’t cause violence, but many abusers use it as an excuse. Without help, drinking and drug abuse only gets worse, and so will the violence.

“The abuse started only recently. Maybe it will just stop.”

Many excuses are used for battering or abuse including illness, financial issues or use of alcohol and drugs. The one thing that is certain is that, without help, the abuse will continue, and possibly escalate.

“I’m not quite ready to make the change.”

If you are not ready to ask for help, there are still ways to protect yourself:

  • Have a safety plan. Know where you can go if you feel your life and well-being have been threatened, or if you feel you are in danger.
  • Hide some money and your important papers so you can leave quickly if you need to.
  • Keep the phone number of your local crisis center at hand, and keep some change or a telephone calling card with you all all times for emergency phone calls. Consider getting a cellular phone, if possible.
  • Talk about the abuse to friends, relatives, neighbors, people at your church-anyone you feel safe confiding in.
  • Devise an escape route in case you need to leave the house quickly.

What kind of help can I get? Where do I get it?

There are a number of agencies that can assist you, including our crisis center. Types of services you can receive include:

  • A 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week support line 603.883.3044, which offers you confidential support and referrals from our advocates.
  • Statewide domestic violence and sexual assault support groups will offer you the opportunity to talk with other victims who have been or are being abused.
  • One-on-one advocacy support, either in person or through the crisis line. Advocates are well-trained and understand the dynamics of abuse and battering.
  • Information on legal ways to make your abuser stay away from you and/or move out of your house.
  • Assistance in finding a place to live even if you are in a wheelchair or have other special needs.
  • Information on and assistance with receiving home care, home delivered meals, and other services to meet your basic needs.
  • Additional services available to you that will allow you to live without fear of abuse.
  • If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
  • If you are 60 years old or over, or are incapacitated, contact your local office of the New Hampshire Division of Elderly and Adult Services.

Personalized Safety Plan

Suggestions for increasing safety in the relationship:

  • I will have important phone numbers available:
  • Police: 911
  • Crisis line: 603-883-3044
  • Friends: ____________________
  • I can tell ____________________ and ____________________ about the violence and ask them to call the police if they hear suspicious noises coming from my home.
  • If I leave my home, I can go to (choose a friend or neighbor at whose house you would feel safe, or contact the crisis center to see about shelter) ____________________.
  • I can leave extra money, car keys, clothing, and copies of documents with ____________________.
  • To ensure safety and independence I can always keep change for phone calls with me; open my own savings account; rehearse my escape route with a support person; and review the safety plan on ____________________ (date).