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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2017 – help protect older Hertfordshire residents from abuse

14/06/2017

 

Police in Hertfordshire are marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by asking residents to look out for older friends, neighbours and family members who might be suffering from abuse.

 

Thursday June 15 is a United Nations-led awareness day and throughout the UK, police, charities and other organisations will be doing all they can to draw attention to the issues of abuse against older people.

 

Elderly victims may be more vulnerable because of their age or the health conditions they are living with. But they are often less likely to report abuse because they rely on the abuser for help and support in other ways, or because they feel shame in relation to what has happened.

 

To other people, abuse against older people may be harder to spot because it is going on behind closed doors or because they wouldn’t suspect a carer or loved one of committing the abuse, and yet it does happen.

 

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Phillips, who leads Hertfordshire Constabulary’s response to safeguarding adults, said: “As a Force we are committed to tackling abuse against older people and we have a number of specialist units that will intervene to stop the abuse and support victims.

 

“However the first step towards stopping the abuse is for someone to report their concerns to police or another authority. While it is not always easy to know whether someone is being abused, if you have any concerns at all, then I would urge you to contact police as soon as possible.

 

“To victims themselves, I would say no one should feel embarrassed or worried about reporting a crime that has been committed against them. All reports will be dealt with sensitively and discretely and our main focus will be to stop the abuse.”

 

Types of abuse can include physical, psychological, financial, neglect or sexual abuse.

 

Specialist police units in Hertfordshire include:

 

  • Safeguarding Adults From Abuse, or SAFA, which deals with allegations of crime committed against an ‘adult at risk’ by a person(s) in a position of trust or with responsibility for the care of the victim;
  • Operation Manhunt deals with distraction burglars who try to trick their way into homes of elderly, or vulnerable members of the community by distracting them while another person enters the property;
  • The force’s Domestic Abuse Investigation and Safeguarding Unit and Sexual Offences Investigation Team support victims of all ages, including older people. Older victims of domestic abuse are more likely to may have been living with abuse for a number of years and therefore may be less likely to report it.

Anyone with concerns should report them to police via the non-emergency number 101.

 

Anyone affected by domestic abuse can contact the Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline 08 088 088 088 or visit the Herts Sunflower website here for guidance and support.