Number of elder abuse allegations referred to HSE doubles in past year

THE number of cases of elder abuse being referred to the HSE doubled last year, with the majority of victims women, a report shows.

In total, 1,840 cases of alleged or suspected elder abuse were reported last year. In 2007 this figure stood at 927.

Women are the primary victims of elder abuse, the research shows, with two-thirds of those abused in 2008 female.

The figures, which were revealed on RTÉ News, indicate that in 26% of cases, the alleged abuse was classified as psychological, in 19% of cases it involved neglect, 16% financial matters and in 12% physical abuse.

There was little regional variance in the type of abuse used, with the abuser tending to be often the closest person to the older person — son, daughter, partner or spouse.

These figures form part of an unpublished report, Elder Abuse Service Developments 2008, which is due to be published tomorrow.

The South accounted for 47% of referrals, Dublin North-East 23%, the West 17% and Dublin Mid-Leinster 13%. There was a high number of re-referrals from previous years in the South.

Across the country, the person most likely to report a case was a public health nurse, hospital or HSE staff member. Referrals by family accounted for less than 15% of cases.

At the end of last year, 54% of cases remained open, while the remainder were closed, having been deemed inconclusive or not substantiated.

Last night a HSE spokeswoman said that they have made significant progress in combating elder abuse in this country, especially in the past 12 months.

Senior case workers have been appointed, a public awareness campaign has been launched and a National Centre for the Protection of the Older Person has been established at UCD. Data is now routinely collected on this issue.


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