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Elder Abuse Rosanna Thurlow Policy Development Officer Action on Elder Abuse.

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Presentation on theme: "Elder Abuse Rosanna Thurlow Policy Development Officer Action on Elder Abuse."— Presentation transcript:

1 Elder Abuse Rosanna Thurlow Policy Development Officer Action on Elder Abuse

2 Who are Action on Elder Abuse? Formed in 1993, Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) works to protect, and prevent the abuse of vulnerable older adults. We were the first charity to address these problems and are the only charity in the UK and in Ireland working exclusively on the issue today

3 What do AEA do? The Helpline: Established in Provides advice and guidance to older people and others Lobby government Speak at conferences Provide training Raise awareness wherever possible

4 Abuse and Definitions A violation of an individuals human or civil rights by any other person or persons - No Secrets A single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust that causes harm or distress to an older person - AEA ‘any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults, aged 18 and over, who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender and sexuality.’ (Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family.) (ACPO definition)

5 The Categories Physical Abuse – Hitting, Kicking, Slapping, Punching, Spitting, Restraint – chemical and physical? Psychological Abuse – Using against a person what they love or value. – JSP! Financial Abuse – Remains too easy to gain control of an older persons finances. Many abusers never deny spending or having access to money Sexual Abuse – Forcing a person to participate in sexual acts and conversations against their will. Must ignore prejudices and assumptions about people with dementia, mental health issues and/or a learning disability Neglect – Failure to provide people with what they need to live. Neglect is not a separate thing to abuse and crime!

6 The Prevalence Study UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People – 2007

7 The overall prevalence of abuse, defined by ‘expectation of trust’ in the year preceding the survey was UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People % (2.6% of older people were abused by someone in a ‘position of trust’) This equates to 342,000 people aged 66 and over, or 1 in every 25 of the population aged 66 and over Leicester population: 330,574 Excluded Care homes, NHS institutions and people with dementia!

8 UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People Abuse by Gender Women 2.1 Men Percentages Percentage of all respondents who experienced abuse

9 UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People The Abusers Partner 33 Other family 9 Home Help 3 Friend 33 Neighbours and Acquaintances Percentage Percentage of all respondents who had experienced abuse in the last year

10 UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People Abuse and Health Neglect 4.8 Men 12.5 Women Percentage 9.2 All abuse Bad Health Good Health 1.2 Percentage of respondents who had self-reported their health, and had experienced abuse

11 UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People Types of Abuse Percentage Percentage of abuse that had occurred in the last year 0.7 Physical 0.5 SexualFinancial 1 One instance in order to be counted once in the Survey 0.7 PsychologicalNeglect 1.2 Ten instances in order to be counted once in the Survey

12 Sexual Percentage of calls excluding ‘Other’ Source: Hidden Voices 2004 Types of abuse Neglect 19 Physical 20 Financial 34 Psychological Source: Hidden Voices 2004

13 UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People Abusers and Type Other family 3 Friend 13 Home Help 11 Neighbour or Acquaintance Percentage 62 Partner Neglect 9 Financial 31 Other Domestic Violence Percentage of those who had been identified as abusers in the last year

14 Older People and Domestic Violence Older People = Victims Older People = Perpetrators

15 Abuse and Crime Hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking Common assault s.39 Criminal Justice Act 1988; actual bodily harm s.47 Offences Against the Person Act 1861; grievous bodily harm/with intent s.20 and 18, OAPA 1861 Misuse of medication to manage behaviour Assault; false imprisonment; applies stupefying/overpowering drugs/matter or thing with intent to commit indictable offence s.22 OAPA; poisoning with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy, s23/24 OAPA; unlawfully administering medication s.58 Medicines Act 1968; injuriously affecting the composition of medicinal products, s63 Medicines Act 1968; failure to comply with conditions/contravention of regulations s.24, 25 Care Standards Act 2000

16 UK Study of Abuse and Neglect of Older People Abuse by Age Percentage s Percentage of all respondents who experienced abuse

17 16% of UK population are aged 65 or over Dementia affects 5% of people over 65 yrs old and 20% over 80 The implications of this? More vulnerable older people = More potential for abuse The Demographic ‘Time bomb’

18 Safeguarding from abuse - the wider agenda Empowerment Preventing isolation Valuing Re-humanising

19 Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Social Services are coordinating agency Multi agency partnership Prevent abuse and protect people from abuse

20 But… Less than one in ten older people who experience neglect, psychological, physical or sexual abuse is having their case referred to local authority adult protection services

21 What to do if you are alerted? Who is suspected of causing the harm? What level of seriousness is it? Who do you report to? In what order? Do you seek to supplement the information you have? What support do you provide to victim? What support do you provide for alleged abuser – if any?

22 The Carer Stress Debate Assumption that an older person receiving care is ‘difficult’ Therefore carer’s stress results in abusive behaviour which is understandable We would not accept carer stress as an explanation in child abuse – why do we for older people?

23 Adult Protection Legislation Legislative situation currently confusing and piecemeal Definition of a vulnerable adult varies, depending upon the legislation. Processes and systems to protect older people are based on guidance and lack the resources and drive to ensure comprehensive protection. Adult Protection Teams under-funded, under- resourced, and under-staffed. Increased referrals to some teams would result in crisis. Abusers escape through the huge gaps that exist

24 Elder Abuse Response Line am – 5.00pm Monday - Friday Action on Elder Abuse: 0044 (0)


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