26 Feb 2018

Dyfed-Powys Police is joining forces with a domestic abuse project called Dewis Choice, which is based in the Centre for the Study of Ageing, Abuse and Neglect at Aberystwyth Law School.

Through Goleudy, our Victim and Witness Service, we will be issuing referrals to Dewis Choice who will then provide victim-survivors of elder abuse perpetrated by intimate partners and/or family members, with increased choices to access justice opportunities and also explore options that promote wellbeing. Victim-survivors will be provided with advice and safety planning that can help reduce the risk they face, and encourage a greater sense of justice for the individual.

The Dewis Choice project is working with people aged 60 years of age or over, living in Carmarthenshire or the City of Cardiff, who have experienced abuse in their own home by a family member or an intimate partner. A trained Choice Support Worker will work with clients referred onto the Dewis Choice project for up to 12 months. The Choice Support Worker will discuss with clients the options available to them to help reduce and where possible, stop the abuse – be that criminal, civil, wellbeing measures, or family based approaches together with assistance from the statutory and third-sector to provide welfare support.

In Carmarthenshire and the City of Cardiff the intervention and a ‘wrap-around’ support service aims to provide a holistic justice package, with an emphasis on safety and the provision of a variety of justice options.

Domestic abuse includes emotional, physical and sexual abuse, as well as neglect, financial exploitation and coercive control. Some older people experience these forms of abuse in their own homes from a partner or relative. People often feel unable to do anything about this because they do not know where to turn for help and support. The experienced Choice Support Worker will be able to help older people in this situation by discussing with clients the options available to them to help reduce and where possible, stop the abuse. 

To be considered for referral to Dewis Choice, the abused person should:

  • Be 60 years of age or over and be a permanent resident living in Carmarthenshire
  • Have experienced abuse or neglect at the hands of a family member or intimate partner
  • Be living in their own home, or, if living in a care home, the alleged perpetrator has to be one of their family members, and NOT a member of staff
  • Dewis Choice is able to work with clients who lack capacity, and will help them gain access to and be supported by, an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)

The Choice Support Worker for Carmarthenshire is a former Inspector of Dyfed-Powys Police, Lynn Rees. He has many years’ experience of working in the areas of domestic abuse and safeguarding.

Detective Chief Inspector Ifan Charles said: “We are really pleased to be working with the Dewis Choice project to tackle and prevent elder abuse. It is estimated that over 40,000 older people in Wales are being abused in their own homes every year - this is unacceptable. We take elder abuse very seriously, and will deal with reports of abuse sensitively and appropriately. Goleudy, our Victim and Witness Service will now be able to refer appropriate cases to Dewis Choice, where victim-survivors will get the right help and support, which will make it possible to break the cycle of abuse, with many options available to people who are being subjected to abuse. If you are being abused or want to help someone who you know or suspect is being abused, you need to act now – call 101. If you believe you or someone else is at significant risk of imminent serious harm contact the police by calling 999."

Lynn Rees, Choice Support Worker added: “This is an important project that addresses the often-hidden problem of the abuse of older people in domestic settings. I’m looking forward to working with our partner organisations in Carmarthenshire to make a difference, and ensure victim-survivors of abuse are accessing the domestic abuse support services available to them and pursuing justice options that are right for them. We must safeguard and support the vulnerable in situations like these.”