More abuse of older people in residential homes, finds charity helpline

Abuse of older people is more likely in residential care than in
other settings, according to an analysis of calls to charity Action
on Elder Abuse, writes Craig Kenny.

Although two thirds of the 7,000 calls analysed related to abuse
in the victim’s home, nearly a quarter of callers complained
of abuse in residential care, where less than five per cent of
older people actually live.

Several abusers were in collusion in one third of cases, and
this was most likely to happen in institutional care.

Government legislation designed to protect whistleblowers has
not been effective, the charity said.

Paid carers made almost a fifth of helpline calls, but relatives
and victims were still much more likely to sound the alarm.

The charity urged professional bodies to make failure to report
abuse a breach of their code of conduct.

One third of the abuse reported was psychological, a fifth was
financial and another fifth was physical; there was neglect in 12
per cent of cases and sexual abuse in three per cent.

Almost half of all cases included multiple abuses.

Sexual abuse was the only type of abuse where reporting rates
have increased, and the report said this may be due to abusers
seeking softer targets due to more rigorous protection of children

In 46 per cent of cases, the abuser was related to their victim
– commonly a son, daughter or partner – but relatives
working as informal carers were implicated in less than one per
cent of cases.

Paid workers were blamed in a third of calls.

Victims were most likely to be female and in their 80s. In 16
per cent of cases, the victim was over 90 years old.

The report urged the government to set up a taskforce to study
elder abuse and to launch an advertising campaign to highlight the

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