Annie | Elderly and Disabled Women are ignored

I am chronically ill and disabled, and had always been very close to my Mum who was 81. She became bedridden, paralysed and had fluctuating mental capacity following a fall in which she broke her spine. She lived with her second husband.

I employed a care company to visit Mum four times each day. One of the Managers for the care company was my step-father’s daughter-in-law. His grand-daughter was a sergeant at the local police station.

Over the course of a year, Mum was coercively controlled by her husband and step-family. He threatened to kill her. He repeatedly overdosed her on morphine. He stole all her mail and froze her bank account so she had no access to her pension or welfare benefits. She could not use the phone unaided, but he repeatedly refused to ring me when she asked him to. He listened in on our conversations. He tried very hard to isolate her from me.

He verbally abused me for months. Physically threatened me twice.

The Care Manager verbally abused me for months, and physically assaulted me causing actual bodily harm. All Mum’s financial documents and ID were stolen from Mum’s home and kept at the care Manager’s house. She monitored my movements and my private conversations with my Mum. I was a nervous wreck and rang the Samaritans.

Long story short, Mum told me and her doctor she wanted to die and committed suicide in the only way open to her by refusing food and medication. She died 16 days later.

Police were called by me on 3 occasions to Mum’s home. I wasn’t given a crime reference number on 2 of the occasions. Mum was never interviewed. She was never referred to support services. I wasn’t asked to give a statement on 2 of the occasions. Police took NFA every time. Seemed more bothered that a charge would cause the care Manager to lose her job. When I reported the abuse of my extremely vulnerable Mum, they initially refused to even investigate. I was told they were only investigating because otherwise I’d complain. I was told to put my own case together and they’d take a look! I had 35 pieces of evidence, and fulfilled nearly all the criteria for coercive control outlined on the online CPS guidance. The police still took NFA.

Mum’s vulnerability and disability, and my ill health and disability were totally ignored. The husband’s word was taken over all my evidence. I was treated with disdain and ambivalence.

I’ve discovered that the collecting of domestic abuse crime statistics stops aged 79. Even if I’d secured a conviction for Mum, due to her age her abuse wouldn’t have been recorded in the crime figures. We have no idea how many very elderly women are victims of domestic abuse. Mum could never have reported the abuse herself as she couldn’t use the phone or even write her name and her husband was with her 24/7. Even with me as her advocate I’ve gotten nowhere getting the abusers charged let alone prosecuted.

Currently trying to put together an IOPC complaint, however this will just be sent to the force to investigate itself. It’s a disgrace that there is no independent Ombudsman which looks at police complaints. There is simply no avenue for justice in respect to issues with the police.

Constabulary: Cumbria Constabulary

Timespan: 2022

Did you report it to the police?: Yes

Your ethnicity: White British

Have you experienced suicidality due to this?: Thoughts/feelings

Are you disabled as defined under the Equality Act 2010?: Yes

illustration by Danny Noble

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