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Protection needed for vulnerable older people

Published on 11 September 2013 10:30 AM

Recent figures show that as many as 370,000 people aged 65 and over may be suffering hidden abuse in their own homes.

A delegation is calling on the Prime Minister to protect vulnerable people across the country. 



Led by former Liberal Democrat care minister Paul Burstow, it claims that more than 500,000 of the older population will be at risk of abuse by 2030 if no action is taken. 

Mr Burstow wants David Cameron to close gaps in the law that are letting vulnerable individuals down and allowing abuse and neglect to go unpunished.

Action urgently needed

Abuse in Winterbourne View and the neglect at Mid Staffordshire Hospital has been well documented, although he claims these cases are just the tip of the iceberg.

The delegation has highlighted three areas where action is urgently needed to tackle abuse in care homes, hospitals and people's own homes.

It wants to see a power of access for confidential interview to ensure no-one is denied protection because they are under duress, plus the introduction of a new offence of neglect to provide protection for those with capacity who remain vulnerable to abuse in institutions and in the community.

Turning a blind eye 'not acceptable'

In addition, it recommends a new offence of Corporate Neglect to hold corporations to account for serious failures of care.

'The Prime Minister should use the Care Bill to toughen up the law and send a powerful message that abusing and neglecting older and vulnerable people won't go undetected and unpunished,' said Mr Burstow.

'When care turns to abuse in hospitals and care homes it shouldn't just be the staff in the dock, the directors and owners should answer too.

'It is not acceptable to turn a blind eye to the fact that most abuse takes place in people's own homes. The law must be able to protect even when someone is too frightened to call for help.'

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK says:

'The Care Bill presents the ideal opportunity to ensure that vulnerable adults living in our community are given the best possible protection from neglect and abuse. We welcome the advances that the Bill already makes in safeguarding older and disabled people but with these additional changes, that protection could be so much more effective.'

Sarah Rochira, older people's commissioner for Wales, Gary Fitzgerald, chief executive of action on elder abuse, and Baroness Greengross, chief executive of the International Longevity Centre, are all part of the delegation.

Copyright Press Association 2013




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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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