Headlines: June 15th, 2007



Social Services leaders are calling on families and the wider community to play their part in tackling the growing problem of abuse of older people. The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services says its members are doing everything in their power to stamp out the problem, but budget constraints are limiting contact with potential victims.

ADASS president Anne Williams has welcomed today’s Action on Elder Abuse Day and a report from the Government and Comic Relief on the incidence of abuse. “Both will provide more publicity and help ensure that people suffering abuse know that they can contact their local authority for support; that they know how to, and that they can be confident that they, or the person being mistreated, will be protected and supported.”

She said Social Services departments were making big strides, within their resources, to deal with abuse but she was concerned that current funding levels meant older people had to be in comparatively greater need before they were eligible for local services. “This means we are in contact with fewer elderly people than we should like, and many opportunities for identifying abuse are consequently lost,” she added.

Ms Williams said budget limitations should never be used as an excuse for poor services but they should not be ignored and she said the Association also needed to work with the Government to identify any gaps in legislation. The call for this review was welcomed by Gary FitzGerald, Chief Executive of Action on Elder Abuse.

Meanwhile the Commission for Social Care Inspection’s Chief Inspector, Paul Snell, said the Comic Relief study was ‘a significant report’ and said it was important for all agencies, the public, politicians, regulators and policy makers to take a strong stand against the abuse of older people. “Professional care agencies and care workers must remain vigilant and report the small minority of people in their industry who are giving others a bad name,” he said.