Health and Social Care Board commits to zero tolerance approach to elder abuse

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Saturday, June 11th, 2016
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Demonstrating the Health and Social Care Board’s support for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Valerie Watts, Chief Executive has signed the International Declaration on Elder Abuse. pensioner2Elder abuse is a universal problem. Research suggests that 2% of the population over 65 years of age experience some form of abuse every year. Last year in Northern Ireland, 2769 older people were referred to adult safeguarding services because there was a concern that they had been subjected to some form of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Valerie Watts spoke of the Board’s support for the Declaration, “I am very proud that the Health and Social Care Board is helping to raise awareness of elder abuse in this way. The harm caused by abuse can be devastating and life-long for many victims. “It is important that we raise concerns about the risks to older people who suffer from neglect or are victims of financial, emotional, physical or sexual abuse. We all have a responsibility to watch for signs of abuse and report it to the relevant organisations. She added, “The Declaration commits the Board to a zero tolerance approach to the abuse of older people and that is very much the foundation of our approach to all adult safeguarding activities”.
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May June 2016 updatedHealth Minister Michelle O’Neill said, “I welcome the Health and Social Care Board’s commitment to a zero tolerance approach to abuse of older people in our society. It is incumbent on all of us to support initiatives such as this that aim to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our society and I would encourage people to report any form of abuse on members of our elderly community to the appropriate authorities.” The Board takes the lead in safeguarding adults in Northern Ireland through the Northern Ireland Adult Safeguarding Partnership (NIASP). NIASP is a multi-agency partnership that brings together representatives from organisations and communities of interest who have a significant contribution to make to safeguarding vulnerable adults. NIASP is responsible for the implementation of the Adult Safeguarding Policy which provides a framework within which social and health care providers, PSNI officers and those involved in the community can work to prevent harm to adults at risk and respond to it when it happens.

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