‘Disturbing’ rise in elderly abuse reports

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The number of reports of suspected abuse of vulnerable older people has increased “disturbingly”, a charity has warned.

Age UK said that any sort of abuse against the elderly is “unacceptable”and called on ministers to ensure that vulnerable adults are given the “best possible protection” against it.

The organisation made its comments after analysis of data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) showed that there was a 4 per cent rise in the number of cases of alleged abuse referred for investigation in the past year.

English councils referred 112,000 cases of alleged abuse against vulnerable adults for investigation in 2012/13, up from 108,000 during the previous year.

Age UK director Caroline Abrahams said: “These numbers are disturbing: even though growing awareness of the abuse of older people is likely to have contributed to the increase in the number of safeguarding concerns reported to and taken forward by English councils, they concern some of the most vulnerable people in our society, many of whom feel that they have no-one to turn to for help.

“Any abuse of older people is unacceptable and we need a zero-tolerance approach to any abuse, whether through neglect, financial manipulation or physical or mental cruelty.”

l The Harrogate district, with an estimated 27 per cent of its population over the age of 60, is particularly hard hit. What do you think can be done to tackle this growing problem?

l Have you been affected by this issue? The Harrogate Advertiser is investigating. Contact reporter Ruby Kitchen on 01423 707509 or email ruby.kitchen@jpress.co.uk.