Elder abuse still going unreported, says expert


THERE IS a “massive gap” between the extent of elder abuse and levels of reporting, an expert on the issue has said.

Sarah Marsh, the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) dedicated officer on elder abuse in the Leinster region, said that while the HSE has handled about 5,000 reports of elder abuse in the past four years, there were likely to be many multiples of this happening.

Ms Marsh was addressing the first of a series of workshops aimed at raising awareness of the issue, organised by Age Action Ireland.

There was a full attendance at yesterday’s Dublin workshop which examined what elder abuse is, the warning signs, the supports available to a victim and how to access those supports.

Age Action spokesman, Eamon Timmins, said elder abuse was a significant but too often hidden problem.

“Research published last year by the National Centre for the Protection of Older People found that 10,200 older people had been abused in the previous 12 months and 18,700 older people had experienced elder abuse at some time since they turned 65.”

Financial abuse was the largest category of abuse reported, followed by psychological abuse, physical abuse, neglect and sexual abuse.

The next workshops will be in Athy, Co Kildare on Friday; Galway city on Monday, April 4th and in Cork on Friday, April 8th.

More details from Age Action on (01) 4756989 or www.ageaction.ie