Friday, March 28, 2008

Abuse Of Older People Nation's 'Secret Shame'

UK. - Human rights amendment will help to close the 'protection gap'

Help the Aged today responded to the Government's pledge that the Human Rights Act will be extended to cover residents in private care homes, and the announcement of a a major study into abuse of elderly people in NHS hospitals and care homes. Kate Jopling, head of public affairs at Help the Aged said:

'Nine out of ten care homes are within the private or charitable sector, but as the law stands, residents at these homes are not protected by the Human Rights Act.

'Whether it be a lack of privacy and dignity, a case of bullying or sheer neglect, there have been numerous instances in which older people have been denied their most basic human rights, but have had no legal protection.

'The failure to protect these groups has been a blight on our society for too long, and Help the Aged has lobbied for many years for this scandalous loophole to be closed.

'The Government's amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill will help to close the protection gap, and ensure these most vulnerable people have proper protection.'

Ms Jopling also welcomed the annoucement of research into elder abuse in care homes and on NHS wards:

'Abuse of the some of the most vulnerable people in our society is this nation's secret shame. The previous study, published by Comic Relief, showed how widespread elder abuse is in the community; this new study will lay bare the extent of mistreatment and abuse of older people in institutional settings.

'Abuse of older people takes many forms and can happen in any context. It's vital that the Government's investigation into the extent of elder abuse leads to concrete action.

'Half a million older people are believed to be abused at any one time in the UK. This is a shocking statistic. Ignorance prevents us from recognising the true extent and nature of elder abuse. We have ignored it for too long.

'All older people have a right to live their lives free from fear of abuse and neglect, whoever is responsible for their care - the state, a private provider or the voluntary sector.'

Help the Aged is currently campaigning to secure a change in the law to outlaw age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services. Please visit for information about 'Just Equal Treatment'.

Right care, Right deal' is the new national campaign launched to build public awareness and support for the need for brave and innovative solutions for the social care system. With the Government indicating that social care is an urgent political priority, and in advance of the expected green paper later in 2008, the campaign combines three of the UK's largest charities working with and for older people and their families and carers, and will urge the government to renew its vision for the future of social care in England. Visit

Help the Aged is the charity fighting to free disadvantaged older people in the UK and overseas from poverty, isolation, neglect and ageism. It campaigns to raise public awareness of the issues affecting older people and to bring about policy change. The Charity delivers a range of services: information and advice, home support and community living, including international development work. These are supported by its paid-for services and fundraising activities - which aim to increase funding in the future to respond to the growing unmet needs of disadvantaged older people. Help the Aged also funds vital research into the health issues and experiences of older people to improve the quality of later life.

Help the Aged urgently needs donations and support to help it in the increasingly challenging fight to free disadvantaged older people from poverty, isolation and neglect.

Source: Medical News Today

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