Government agrees to fund research to determine extent of elder abuse

The government has confirmed plans to fund research into the
prevalence of elder abuse and has proposed the introduction of
performance measures on how councils tackle the issue.

At the annual conference of Action on Elder Abuse this week,
community care minister Stephen Ladyman announced an extra
£430,000 for the charity’s work, including £150,000 to
analyse local authority statistical information on elder abuse.

Ladyman told a House of Commons health committee inquiry into elder
abuse earlier this year that suggestions that 500,000 older people
a year were suffering abuse were “unhelpful” because the
definitions were too broad. He said at the time that the government
was interested in funding further research (news, page 12, 29

Ladyman told the conference: “We must accept that not only is
physical neglect a form of abuse, but so is neglecting the needs of
a person to be stimulated, involved, respected and to be able to
contribute to the society and community around them.”

Last week, Ladyman also revealed that the government is to develop
a strategy for older people that will set shared objectives across
all central government departments.

It is likely that the strategy, which could be in place by the end
of the year, will outline a broad set of objectives which all
departments and ministers will sign up to and promote.

The objectives will be based around ensuring all policies on older
people have well-being at their core and promote independence and

Asked about the strategy at a conference on improving older
people’s services in Kent, Ladyman said it would not be appropriate
to comment on something that had yet to be announced to parliament.
But he admitted that ministers were trying to ensure services were
joined up at a national level.

He added: “We are expecting you – councils and NHS bodies – to form
partnerships more and more, and work closer together.

“So the very least we in government should be doing is making
changes to make cross-departmental working easier.”

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