Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for older people, has called for an aggressive public information campaign to inform members of the public how to report cases of elder abuse.
The organisation was responding to the publication today of HSE figures revealing that almost 8,000 cases of alleged adult abuse were reported in 2016 but only 6 per cent of cases were reported by the alleged victim or their family.
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications, said: “The number of elder abuse cases has been rising every year since the HSE started reporting figures almost ten years ago.
“The best way for older people to protect themselves is to be informed, to ensure their friends and family know what warnings signs to watch out for and to act when they suspect elder abuse.
“But the very low figures for reporting of abuse by those who are suffering from it or their family suggests too few people know what to look out for or how to report cases of elder abuse to the HSE.
National Safeguarding Committee
“The information campaign launched today by the National Safeguarding Committee is very welcome and will educate many people about the nature of elder abuse.
"We need to see much more of this to ensure people know what they can do if they believe an older person is being abused and how they can speak out.”
Suspected cases of elder abuse can be reported to the HSE National Safeguarding Office at 061 461 358 or by calling the HSE information line on 1850 24 1850.
Age Action campaigns
Age Action is currently running two campaigns to end elder abuse in Ireland.
Last year the charity launched a new animated video to warn older people and their families of the dangers of financial elder abuse and has distributed more than 20,000 information leaflets to community centres and retirement groups around Ireland.
As part of an EU funded programme Age Action is also working with partners in Finland, Romania and Italy to tackle elder abuse in residential care centres through socio-drama workshops for residents and staff.