An article which looks at laws which are being brought in to protect elderly and vulnerable people from being abused. With the UK population aging and life expectancy increasing the number of potential victims is increasing.
It is perhaps a sad sign of our times that statistics show abuse of elderly and vulnerable people are increasing each year. The vast majority of abuse is carried out by perpetrators known to the victim and are quite often the relatives the victim relies upon to help them carry out their daily life. Almost two thirds of cases of elderly abuse are carried out in the victim’s home with a quarter taking place in care homes.
The World Health Organisation raised elder abuse as a global problem in 2002 and since then many countries have tightened up their laws to ensure the elderly and most vulnerable of society are protected by law. Many types of elderly abuse are now recognised as forms of domestic and family violence which can carry prison sentences. Legal solicitors are starting to see an increased number of cases in this area.
What are the types of abuse?
Solicitor firms such as Dutton Gregory solicitors acknowledge there are many different types of elderly abuse reported to them. These can range from:
Physical abuse hitting, punching, slapping as well as false imprisonment and improper medication being given to the victim
Psychological abuse this is where the perpetrator will often use something they know is of importance to the victim and will use it to humiliate, ridicule or criticise the victim with. Silence, ignoring and shunning are also forms of abuse.
Neglect depriving the victim of food, water, heating, clean clothes and bedsheets are all forms of neglect, as are depriving medication or other services the victim relies on.
Financial exploitation this is a form of abuse that is worryingly increasing. This can be illegal or unauthorised use of the victim’s finances, from taking their pension payments to savings account withdrawals.
The consequences of such abuse can range from an increased sense of helplessness and stress to malnutrition, depression and even death.
Research into elderly care shows that an average pensions will visit their GP a little under 14 times a year, so this is once a month on average. GP’s and healthcare assistants are being encouraged to speak out and support the victim if they suspect elderly abuse. Only 2% of elderly abuse cases in the USA are raised by health practitioners and many of them cite lack of knowledge of existing laws in this area as the main reason they don’t raise the matter.
What can be done to help those who suffer elderly abuse?
Educating health professionals and carers, including family relatives, of the signs of elderly abuse are key. By more people being aware of this growing problem and perhaps being able to recognise and take action to stop it sooner, then this eventually will lead to a drop in such crime.
Article written by Maria John, a freelance writer who regularly writes mental health and law related articles. Her advice if you ever suspect elderly abuse is to seek up to date legal and impartial advice from reputable law firms such as Dutton Gregory solicitors.