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Carers UK reaction to elder abuse report

14 June 2007

Commenting on the UK Study of Abuse and Neglect, Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: "This is the first in-depth study of elder abuse that has been undertaken and it challenges some of the prejudices that people have that domestic abuse stops when someone gets older.

This survey shows, quite clearly that it continues into older age. This wholly unacceptable and needs to be urgently tackled. We welcome the measures being announced today by Ministers, such as the registers of abuse.

The research highlights some shocking facts such as the level of sexual abuse. It also raises critical questions about the nature of relationships between the older person and their abuser. For example, if the person carrying out the abuse is supposed to be caring for them, what agreement do they have about caring?

Is the abuser withholding support to make the older person suffer on purpose or are they simply not able to provide the level of care and support that the older person wants them to. For example they may not be able to visit as often as the older person would like. Whilst systematic abuse needs to be firmly and swiftly dealt with, we must also recognise that in some cases there is a mismatch between expectations and the support that can actually be provided.

This research is helpful because is challenges prejudices. We also need more research is unpick some of these more complicated questions to look at the real risks of abuse and we need urgent action to tackle persistent abuse for people of all ages, including older people.

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