Increase In Elder Abuse Reported

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has recorded an increase of 9% in the number of referrals received for Elder Abuse. The reported published on Tuesday (22/05/12) by the HSE reviewed Elder Abuse Services for 2011. The review included statistics into elder abuse referrals.

Elder Abuse has been defined as a “single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person or violates their human and civil rights”.(Protecting Our Future, 2002).

2,302 referrals of elder abuse were received by the HSE in 2011, an increase of 9% from 2010. 1,867 cases involved another person, while 429 cases were exclusively self-neglect. Six cases of organisational abuse were received in 2011.

Psychological abuse is the most common type of abuse, when self-neglect is excluded, at 35%. Financial abuse (23%), neglect (19%) and physical abuse (12%). The public health nursing service is the main source of referrals, hospital/HSE staff and family are also major sources.

Women represent the highest number of victims. Those aged 80 and over also had a higher referral rate.

Sons and Daughters were alleged perpetrators in 44% of cases, partner/husband/wife in 18% of cases and other relative in 18% of cases.

All referrals are in confidence and those who suspect Elder Abuse can call the HSE Information Line on 1850 24 1850. They can also contact a health professional such as GP, Public Health Nurse or Social Worker. The HSE employ 31 senior case workers for the protection of older people.

According to Mr. Frank Murphy, Chair of the National Elder Abuse Steering Committee, “The HSE continues to receive increasing numbers of referrals of alleged abuse of older people. This increase indicates that people are becoming more aware of elder abuse and this may be as a result of the significant efforts that the HSE, and its partners, have made in recent years in trying to increase awareness of the issue. It may also be a sign that people are having a growing confidence in the service”.