Many older people fall victim to elder abuse

Everyone has a right to feel safe, free from abuse and neglect. Whilst most people are able to do this, nearly half a million people aged over 65 will experience some form of abuse or neglect...

Published: Friday, 12th June 2020

June 15 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), it’s an opportunity to talk about this issue, to help people to spot the signs of abuse and explain how they can report it in confidence.

Older people can fall victim of abuse in many ways, both men and women can be at risk of being abused, and this can happen anywhere. Older people can be targeted because of a number of factors. Sometimes isolation, care needs and being more trusting can lead to abuse or neglect often by those close to older person.

Abuse can happen in many ways, the more common types of abuse older people can suffer include physical, psychological, financial and neglect. Often these are also crimes. Abuse or neglect can happen anywhere including someone’s home or that of their carer, a day centre, a residential or nursing home, or a hospital.

Elizabeth Hanlon, Independent Chair of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board (HSAB), said; “At a time of crisis, those who seek to exploit older people are quick to act. For instance, we have been warned of new scams claiming to be offering help and advice to people affected by coronavirus. Older people can often be an easy target and with many self-isolating under the recent pandemic guidance, safeguarding awareness and reporting is more important than ever.”

Often, those who abuse older people are exploiting a relationship. They may be someone the victim trusts, this may be because of a family relationship, a friendship, a carer that may be paid or unpaid or someone that is in a position of trust.

Abuse is not always intentional. It can be because someone lacks the skills or support to properly and safely care for another person. Reporting abuse can trigger help with that.

Safeguarding is everyone’s business, if you see something, say something!

Follow @HertsSab on Twitter and @hertscountycouncil on Facebook to find out more about WEAAD and join the conversation.

For more information about adult safeguarding visit the HSAB website at

You can report a safeguarding concern at or call 0300 123 40 42. In an emergency always call 999.  

For support and advice for older people, visit or call 0300 345 3446.

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