A specialist helpline in Essex aims to stamp out abuse of elderly people in care homes by lifting the barriers that stop individuals reporting abuse or bad practice.
The charity Action on Elder Abuse is working with the Commission for Social Care Inspection, Essex Vulnerable Adult Protection Committee, the Police, Essex County Council, and two care home providers, to protect people who speak out by resolving issues of abuse quickly and independently.
The multi-agency helpline is a six-month pilot project, launched under the government’s Dignity in Care campaign and backed by social care minister Ivan Lewis.
Lewis said: “Older people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Abuse in any setting is unacceptable and it is vital that we all work together to eliminate it. I want people to be as outraged by the abuse of an older person as they are by the abuse of a child.”
According to Action on Elder Abuse, 23% of calls to its own national helpline are about abuse in care homes but only 4.9% of older people live in care homes.
The charity says that many individuals do not report abuse because they fear that they will either be evicted or sacked.
Paul Snell, chief inspector at CSCI, commended the partnership approach of this initiative. “It is vital that we give people who use care services and their relatives and friends the courage to complain if they or a loved one have been abused. It is just as important for staff in care settings to blow the whistle if they see abuse taking place.”