Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support

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Older Victims of Domestic Violence

Older people can be victims of different types of abuse, including domestic violence. Some people have been with the same abusive partner for many years. The abuse may have started while they were dating, first married, living together, or during pregnancy. Or, it may have started or gotten worse later in the relationship. Others are starting new relationships following a death or divorce and their new partner is abusive.

As with victims of domestic violence of all ages, separating from the abuser is not always the safest or best option. There are many factors to consider when deciding what to do. Older victims of domestic violence have these additional barriers:

Some older people are abused by other family members – often their children or grandchildren. In these cases, many of the same issues exist as with partner violence. These factors can be even worse if the older person is becoming less able to take care of themselves.

Under New York State law, you can get an order of protection from Family Court if you are in an intimate relationship with an abuser or if you are being abused by a family member. See "The Police and Courts" section of this booklet for more information on this and other legal options.

Resources are available for older victims of all crimes, including domestic violence. For information about elder abuse and domestic violence, call the NYS Domestic and Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800- 942-6906. If you need protection or know someone who does, call your local Adult Protective Services office within the Department of Social Services. The number can be obtained by calling 1-800-342-3009 (press option 6) or visit