Action on Elder Abuse helpline forced to cut hours

Action on Elder Abuse's helpline faces reduced hours after the government stopped funding the charity on 1 April.

Action on Elder Abuse’s helpline faces reduced hours after the government stopped funding the charity on 1 April.

The charity fears the Department of Health move is in retaliation for its criticisms of government policy on adult safeguarding.

Action on Elder Abuse will also be unable to access funding to wean charities off government grants and increase their reliance on other sources of income.

Gary FitzGerald, chief executive at Action on Elder Abuse, said: “It has already had an effect. We have substantially reduced our staff and it does have an effect on the hours that we run the helpline on some days.”

He added that the charity’s outreach work had also been cut.

FitzGerald said the charity faced the same challenges as others in generating income in tough economic times. He added that the loss of the DH funding, worth £120,000 last year, had been anticipated and action had already been taken to protect core activities.

On his blog, FitzGerald linked the funding loss to its criticisms of the government’s lack of progress in tightening adult safeguarding.

He said the government was no longer interested in maintaining “critical friends” and the charity had made a decision to be outspoken despite the possible reduction in funding it feared would follow.

Action on Elder Abuse has most recently been critical of government plans to introduce a system of voluntary, rather than compulsory, registration for care staff.

Though it welcomed government proposals in January to put adult safeguarding boards on a statutory footing, it questioned the timing of the announcement, so close to a general election.

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