Press Release

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 15th June 2009

Today (Monday 15 June, 2009) on the 4th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Ms Áine Brady TD, Minister for Older People, urged people to follow up on any concerns they may have in relation to abuse of older people. Elder Abuse is a complex issue, it may take the form of psychological abuse, neglect, financial abuse, physical abuse or sexual abuse or a combination of these. The Minister stated that “whatever form it may take it is simply unacceptable. We must decide what kind of society we want to live in and take a stand against any type of abuse”.

An analysis of the 2008 referrals to the Health Service Executive (HSE) shows that most cases of reported elder abuse involve close family members. Family relatives are cited in nearly three out of every four cases. In approximately two thirds of referrals, the victim is female.

The Minister added “we know that many men and women suffer in silence each day, their confidence undermined, carrying a heavy burden. Among the recent significant developments made by the HSE, is the appointment of social workers throughout the country, who are dedicated to tackling elder abuse. The HSE provides a discreet and confidential service which may include counselling and mediation as appropriate.”

The HSE ran its first public awareness campaign on elder abuse in 2008/2009, raising awareness of all types of abuse and of financial abuse in particular. There is a variety of supports available and anyone who has concerns may report their anxieties to, a public health nurse, a member of the Garda Síochána, any professional or care worker or their bank or solicitor.

The Minister concluded by re-iterating the Government’s commitment to tackle elder abuse. Policy in relation to elder abuse is kept under consideration. The current policy framework, Protecting our Future … Report of the Working Group on Elder Abuse, is being reviewed. The results of the Review, due to be completed in June 2009, will give critical information on how the current system works and will inform future steps to be taken to address elder abuse.

The HSE’s Information Line 1850 24 1850 is available Monday to Saturday 8am-8pm.