Press Release

Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, Áine Brady TD, emphasises need for vigilance in relation to elder abuse

Ms Áine Brady TD, Minister for Older People and Health Promotion, said that people must be alert to the risk of elder abuse and to take the necessary action if they have suspicions. The Minister was commenting on the launch of the HSE Elder Abuse Service Report 2009.

“Elder abuse in any form is unacceptable and I can reiterate my and the Government’s continuing commitment to tackling this issue”, the Minister said. “Elder abuse is a societal, as distinct from, a health problem. Significant progress has been made in recent years especially the HSE’s Elder Abuse Service; a dedicated and unified Service, backed up by a research centre in UCD. The indications are that the structures are working. I also want to make sure that older people who feel they are the subject of abuse in any shape or form, their families, friends or neighbours have the confidence to report their anxieties to a social worker, a public health nurse, a member of the Garda Siochána or indeed, any professional or care worker, whichever way is easiest for them. All referrals are treated in confidence and insofar as is possible, handled in a way that respects the wishes of the older person” the Minister said.

The 2009 Report shows that there were 1,870 referrals to the Elder Abuse Service in 2009, a slight increase over 2008. “We should have prevalence data for Ireland towards the end of the year”, the Minister said. “Using international comparisons we would expect the numbers being referred to the Service to increase. An increase in referrals shows that people are beginning to trust the Service and that is a good thing”.

Anyone who feels they are the subject of abuse should talk to someone they trust. They can also contact a social worker, a public health nurse, a member of the Garda Síochána, any professional or care worker, their bank or solicitor. The HSE Information Line is 1850 24 1850.