Protection of vulnerable adults must be raised to the same legal status as child protection, charity Action on Elder Abuse has said.
It is calling for dedicated legislation and more resources for adult protection services as part of a campaign launched in Northern Ireland this week, which will also be extended to England and Wales.
Gary Fitzgerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, (pictured) said: “We know from calls to our specialist helpline that some older people in Northern Ireland are facing quite horrendous abuses at the hands of families and paid carers. We hear of cases where victims are beaten and robbed so badly that the consequences are often devastating. And we know from our partner charities in the learning disability, domestic violence and mental health fields that similar abuses are happening to other vulnerable adults. It’s time to unite on this issue and seek protection and justice for those who are, too often, unable to speak out for themselves.”
The charity yesterday published a consultation based on the views of 150 charities proposing legislation to place a duty to investigate allegations of adult abuse on professionals and a duty to cooperate in adult protection work on agencies.
The consultation also argued that the current lack of legislation means that agencies prioritise duties which are they are legally required to carry out over adult protection.
Action on Elder Abuse want to form an alliance with other individuals and organisations to lobby for such legislation. It say that this could be similar to the Making Decisions Alliance which successfully campaigned on the Mental Capacity Act.
Last year, the then care services minister Liam Byrne said he would consider giving legal status to protection of vulnerable adults but there has been no progress on this from the government since.
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