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HSE reports 9 per cent increase in elder abuse referrals

The majority of alleged victims were aged over 80, female, and had reportedly been neglected or abused by a relative.

Image: hweiling via Creative Commons/Flickr

THE HSE HAS noted a 9 per cent increase in the number of elder abuse referrals it received last year.

A total of 2,302 referrals of elder abuse were received by the service in 2011, an increase of 9 per cent from 2010, according the HSE’s Elder Abuse Report 2011.

Of these, 1,867 involved allegations of a particular person involved in abuse, 429 cases were exclusively self-neglect, and six were related to organisational abuse.

Excluding cases related to self-neglect only , psychological abuse was the most common type of abuse reported at 35 per cent, followed by financial abuse (23 per cent), neglect (19 per cent) and physical abuse (12 per cent).

The main source of referral was the public health nursing service, while hospital or HSE staff and family also being major sources.

Age groups

The highest referral rate concerned alleged victims aged 80 and over, with the 65 to 79 year age group apparently facing fewer incident of abuse.

Most of the alleged victims were female.

Those accused of perpetrating abuse tended to be related to the older person, with sons and daughters making up 44 per cent per cent of the alleged abusers.

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A person’s partner or spouse was accused of perpetrating abuse in 18 per cent of cases, while another family member was accused in a further 18 per cent of cases. The HSE said that this breakdown is consistent with referrals from previous years.

Frank Murphy, Chair of the National Elder Abuse Steering Committee said the increase in referrals “indicates that people are becoming more aware of elder abuse”. Murphy said that significant efforts had been made by the HSE and its partners over recent years in trying to increase awareness of the issue.

HSE asks anyone who is being abused, or is concerned about abuse, to talk to someone they can trust or contact the HSE information line on 1850 24 1850.

Read the HSE’s Elder Abuse Report 2011 in full>

Read: Alzheimer’s patient beaten by carer at UK nursing home

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