Declaration against abuse of elders is signed by localCounty Down agencies.
There have been many horror stories in the media in recent months about the abuse of the elderly in our local communities and especially in care settings.
To mark World Elder Abuse Day (Monday 15th June), the Southern Local Adult Safeguarding Partnership (SLASP) is declaring zero tolerance of abuse and neglect of older people in our local community.
The Partnership is a group of statutory, independent, community and voluntary sector organisations who work together to raise awareness of and support all adults who have experienced abuse, exploitation or neglect.
Although they traditionally come together to sign the International Prevention of Elder Abuse Declaration, this year partners are each making the commitment remotely.
Adult abuse can take various forms – it could be neglect, physical, sexual, emotional or financial. It can happen anywhere the person lives or visits and very often the abuser will be well known to their victim.
Interim Director for Older People and Primary Care for the Southern Trust, Brian Beattie said: “The last few months have been difficult for many of us, particularly for older people, those with mental or physical health problems or a disability.
“Covid-19 has often led to increased isolation for these groups, loneliness and dependency on others. We have seen great kindness from the community in helping others with shopping and messages.
“However, sadly we also know that a reliance on others can also place the most vulnerable at risk of financial exploitation and doorstep crime.
“The ‘stay at home’ guidance has also placed more stress on many families, leading to an increase in domestic abuse incidents reported to the PSNI during this time.
“With restrictions on visiting friends and family, potential abuse or neglect may not be picked up as it would normally, so we encourage everyone to look out for and check in on relatives or neighbours and please get in touch with us if you are concerned about potential abuse.
“You can find out more about the different types of abuse, exploitation or neglect by watching the video stories on: www.hscboard.hscni.net/niasp
“If you are worried that you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse, exploitation or neglect it is important to remember that help and supports are still available.”
The Southern Trust Adult Protection Team is available for advice and support:
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm Tel: 028 3756 4423
Evenings, Weekends and Bank Holidays Tel: 028 95049999