342,000 older people abused last year, Department of Health and Comic Relief report finds

Care services minister Ivan Lewis today promised a review of adult protection guidance and possible new legislation after a major survey found 342,000 older people were neglected or abused in their own home over the last year.

The UK Study of Abuse and Neglect, the first national study into the prevalence of elder abuse, found that 4% of over-65s had been mistreated in their own home by family, close friends, care workers, neighbours or acquaintances.

The inquiry, by National Centre for Social Research and King’s College London and funded by the Department of Health and Comic Relief, found that half of all incidents involved a partner or family member, with one in eight involving a care worker.

Speaking at the report’s launch, Lewis said it was time to review the No Secrets adult protection guidance and said the review would also consider the case for putting adult protection on a legislative footing, like child protection. Charity Elder Abuse launched a campaign in April calling for adult protection legislation

Lewis also announced that local authorities would be given responsibility for collecting data on elder abuse from 2008-9.

He added: “This research gives us the first objective and scientific assessment of the prevalence of elder abuse. We now have with some precision an up-to-date estimate of the size of the challenge that we face. Older people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect – abuse in any setting is just unacceptable.”

Related articles
Essential information on elderly people 
Abuse of adults not seen as a priority with child abuse 

Further information
The Realities of Elder Abuse: Research into Practice

Contact the author
 Simeon Brody



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