Parent being abused but won’t accept

I am asking this for a good friend - her dad and stepmum live some 200 miles away at the stepmums decision. My friend has been told by a neighbour and a relative of the stepmother that her dad is being abused. Stepmum has taken over his finances and persuaded him to make a will cutting his side of the family out. She doesn’t feed him properly and he doesn’t always get his meds. She doesn’t call the doctor when he needs it and he is now disabled, doubly incontinent and very frail and vulnerable. My friend and her dad haven’t always got on but she still feels some responsibility for him. He is also being physically abused. When my friend has quizzed him about this on the odd occasion she has visited he has denied it all and said he is fine. He obviously isn’t but what, if anything can she do about it to ensure his safety? The stepmum does everything she can to keep them apart and not keep her informed. She has actually admitted to someone that she is keeping him going so she can have his pension.

HI Angela,
this needs reporting to the adult safeguarding team in the area they live. Ideally by the neighbour who told your friend; however your friend could report it too.


Keep a diary of incidents. Record all the details. Good luck.

Thanks for the reply. How would they proceed if dad simply denies anything is happening?

Use a security camera.

Thank you Thara. Good idea but not sure how that would be managed.

I’m wondering if she has taken over his pension? If so, maybe DWP could help? IF she is his appointee she has a legal duty to manage them properly. The maximum penalty is 7 years in jail! Also, alert the GP, if known. Easy in a rural area, where there is only one practice, not so much in a built up area.

Angela, by what the neighbour has said -multiple abuse is happening - both care and finances. It shouldn’t be difficult to prove that he doesn’t always get his meds (date on prescription label, number of tablets left in box ) nor, that he isn’t being fed properly - weight loss/dehydration etc and if he is being physically abused there will be marks. Also he may be more likely to admit to the abuse to a stranger than to his own daughter. As for the financial abuse they can look at bank statements etc

Thank you all. I can see now that there is a way the abuse can be proven even without dads cooperation. I will pass on your wise advice to my friend and she can take it from there. Much appreciated.

She would be welcome here if she would like support going through this.

I agree with the advice given, but be aware that he may be denying abuse for any number of reasons: firstly, there is the chance that it isn’t happening. Secondly, he may be fearful of reprisals if he says something and is not protected. Thirdly, he may not see what is happening as abuse - a lot depends on his mental state. It’s easy to be gaslighted into believing that a toxic situation is really good for you.

Either way, the important thing is to report it, leaving nothing out. The more detail there is, the more likely someone will decide something doesn’t add up, especially if any element of it is verifiable in the way Melly1 has described.

Hello Angela - thanks for post about this situation in Carers Connect on behalf of your friend.

I would strongly suggest that your friend contacts a specialist organisation called Hourglass (formerly Action on Elder Abuse)

Hourglass have a helpline service where your friend will be able to speak with trained staff and volunteers, and they may be able to give more guidance. They can be telephoned on 0808 808 8141 (Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm) or emailed on They also have an online chat function on their website.

Your friend may also find it helpful to visit the following Government webpage on reporting abuse of an older person:

I hope your friend will find this information helpful.

With good wishes


Hi Michael. Apologies for the delay in responding but had a crazy couple of weeks! Many thanks for the very helpful information which I have passed on to my friend. It’s now down to her what she wants to do with it. A difficult situation but I think from what she has said that the stepmother is now aware that she is being observed by several people so it might be that she will desist from this behaviour though we appreciate that it may not go away completely. Grateful thanks once again.


Thanks for your reply Angela. I’m glad the information was helpful. Wishing you and your friend well.