The country's first safe house for domestic violence victims over the age of 45 has opened.
Eva Women's Aid, based in Redcar, Teesside - which has worked with victims aged up to 80 - has opened the specialist home for older people because they have different needs.
Older women are less likely to report maltreatment by their partner, the organisation said. It said it had found that if they were accommodated with younger victims, they would "mother" them to the detriment of their own needs.
The charity, based in Redcar's High Street, already operates two safe houses in the Teesside area geared towards young women.
The new residence will offer temporary housing for up to four women at a time and the first residents have moved in.
Chief executive Richinda Taylor said: "Women over 45 have different needs to younger victims and we have found that when they are housed together, the older women tend to take on a maternal role.
"This can be at the cost of their own personal needs and we want to ensure that they're not overlooked.
"We've worked with women aged 80 and over who've been subjected to violence and psychological control all of their adult lives and sadly many women believe that there's no way out for them.
"This dedicated safe house, with fully-trained staff on hand, will enable us to help them turn their lives around and break the cycle of abuse."
The scheme has been supported by the Charity Bank organisation with a £55,000 loan.
Alistair Jenkins, its North East manager, said: "Eva's innovative approach and expertise supporting domestic abuse victims is being shared with other organisations working in the field so that similar schemes aimed at women over 45 can be opened across the UK."
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