More than 1,800 cases of elder abuse reported

 

MORE THAN 1,800 cases of elder abuse were reported to the Health Service Executive last year, new figures show.

The number of alleged cases reported in 2008 was twice that reported in 2007 when 927 cases were reported.

However, the 2007 figures related to just nine months of the year.

A quarter of the complaints related to allegations of psychological abuse, a fifth were about neglect, some 16 per cent concerned allegations of financial abuse and 12 per cent involved complaints of physical abuse such as slapping. In about 80 per cent of cases the alleged abusers were family members.

Eamon Timmins of Age Action Ireland said the figures, which were revealed by RTÉ News yesterday, were disturbing.

International research showed 3-5 per cent of older people suffer abuse at some time in their lives, he said.

This would suggest 14,000- 24,000 older people in Ireland would suffer abuse at some stage. He suggested, therefore, that the cases reported to the HSE were “just the tip of the iceberg”.

He urged anyone who suspected or knew an older person was being abused to report it to the HSE, which now has a number of dedicated elder abuse officers to investigate their complaint.

Chairman of the HSE’s national elder abuse steering committee Frank Murphy said: “The HSE is committed to protecting older people from all forms of abuse, regardless of where it occurs or who the perpetrators might be.”