Older people face barriers in reporting abuse, study says

Services working with older people must do more to tackle barriers to reporting abuse, according to study published today. 

In-depth interviews with almost 40 older people found they did not know where to go for help or whether it was appropriate to report their concerns.

The study, carried out by the National Centre for Social Research and King’s College London, also found that some older people were afraid of “making a fuss” or being blamed, or felt services had limited ability to take action on their behalf.

The centre’s research director, Josie Dixon, said: “Although people may not know where to get help or whether what they are experiencing is appropriate, the people we’ve spoken to are perfectly autonomous and able to make decisions for themselves.

“In terms of responding it places a focus on an enabling approach, addressing some of the barriers people experience rather than the rescuing approach.”

Dixon said better signposting for older people about where they should go to report abuse would be useful and suggested GPs might have a strong role to play.

Today’s research followed up on interviews drawn from a Comic Relief and Department of Health elder abuse incidence study published last month, which found that 342,000 older people were abused last year.

More information
National Centre for Social Research

Essential information on older people’s services  

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 Simeon Brody




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