Statement from Minister Lynch on publication of HSE Elder Abuse Report for 2014
Ms. Kathleen Lynch, T.D., Minister for Primary Care, Social Care, and Mental Health, has welcomed the publication today, Thursday 18th June 2015, of the 7th (2014) Review of the HSE’s Elder Abuse Service.
Commenting on the Review, Minister Lynch said, “The instinct of every decent person is to protect those who are vulnerable, and any incidents of elder abuse are accordingly abhorrent. It is concerning that incidences of abuse increases with the age of those affected, as vulnerability can increase with age, particularly if frailty, isolation, or cognitive difficulties are presenting challenges.”
“Increasing, awareness and the fact that the HSE has established clear mechanisms to address the issue, may be a factor in the increase in the number of referrals. I want to commend the HSE for taking a proactive approach to the problem of elder abuse, and reports such as that published today will continue to raise awareness and bring much needed transparency to this difficult area.”
“Combatting elder abuse requires broad-ranging responses which go well beyond the investigation of incident reports. Respect for older people and and the extent to which we recognise and value their position in society are also very important. The cross-Departmental National Positive Ageing Strategy is designed to foster positive attitudes, and is one of my priorities for the remainder of this Government’s term.”
In 2014, there were a total of 2,592 referrals made to the elder abuse service which is an increase of 5% on referrals from 2013. This represents the largest number of referrals received in any year since the service was established. Of these, psychological abuse was the most frequently reported form of abuse at 29%, followed by financial abuse (21%), self-neglect (21%), neglect (15%), and physical abuse (12%).
In total, 66% of referrals related to females and, of these, the majority were in the over 80s age category (54%). Applying the referral rates/1000 population across all HSE areas, the referral rate is between three and a half and four times greater in the over 80’s when compared to the 65-79 year age category. Public Health Nursing Service continues to be the main referral source despite a 4% drop from 2013 to (29%), followed by hospital (14%), and family (13%)
There was a significant increase in the number of concerns that first originated from older people themselves, from 19% in 2013 to 26% in 2014. As has been characteristic of previous years, the alleged perpetrators are adult children in 49% of cases, partner/husband wife (19%) and “other relative” (15%). Additionally there were 5% of cases classified as“other” that when further explored, predominantly related to Landlord/Lodger related concerns which was evident for both male and female clients.