Elderly abuse cases soar

CASES of abuse against the elderly in Suffolk have risen from just eight to more than 1,000 in five years, new figures reveal.But experts believe around five out of six cases of abuse - including physical, verbal, and sexual attacks - are still going unreported and predict the “appalling” figures will continue to soar.

CASES of abuse against the elderly in Suffolk have risen from just eight to more than 1,000 in five years, new figures reveal.

But experts believe around five out of six cases of abuse - including physical, verbal, and sexual attacks - are still going unreported and predict the “appalling” figures will continue to soar.

The latest statistics for Suffolk come with the release of national government figures showing that almost 350,000 people over the age of 66 have experienced some kind of abuse ranging from financial fraud to emotional abuse.

Bill Nicol , head of adult safeguarding services at Suffolk County Council, said he was not surprised at the UK Study of Abuse and Neglect findings and said they were similar to what had been found locally, but added the figures needed to be looked at in context.

He said: “In my opinion there has always been this problem but now we have invested time in identifying and reporting cases of abuse.

“Since 2002 we have put 23,000 staff members through training in identifying abuse of any vulnerable adult. We have also launched a leaflet and a DVD - but there is still more to be done.”

Most Read

To highlight the seriousness of the problem, Mr Nicol revealed the following examples of abuse, which were reported to his department last year:

nA 78-year-old man living in a residential care home was left with a debt of £21,853 for his care because the friend he had entrusted with his finances had made off with his money.

nAn elderly man gave a woman who had befriended him £150,000 to buy a house and paid her £2,000 every month just to have her company. When investigations were carried out, it was discovered the woman was married.

nA 79-year-old woman confided in social services that her husband was physically violent towards her and had kept her a prisoner in her own home, isolating her from family members. He was also allegedly sexually abusing her.

n. Has someone you know been in this situation? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter