Call to fight back against elder abuse

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is on Friday – a day when the whole world voices its opposition to the harm and suffering that is inflicted on some of our older generations.

Harm and neglect of older people is one of the last great taboos, but has hit the headlines recently with documentaries detailing mistreatment of the elderly, and inclusion of adult protection issues within major soaps.

Their depiction of abuse has highlighted the difficulties many elderly people face in being aware of what harm is – knowing when behaviour is unacceptable or criminal, and knowing how to report harm, particularly when it involves abuse by family members or staff.

But what if you need help to talk to someone? It isn’t always easy to get people to listen to you.

Margaret Murdoch of Fife Elderly Forum, told the Mail: “Older people must be listened to, and make their voice heard.

“People need to participate and get involved. There are many groups and organisations which will take your concerns forward and help you to be heard. If you need help to talk to someone, an advocate can help you to speak up for yourself, or can speak on your behalf about the things that are important to you. Fife Elderly Forum provide advocacy for older people and you can call them on 01592 643743.

“Everyone has the right to be safe. If you are experiencing harm or neglect, you must tell someone. You can call the Adult Protection Phone Line on 01383 602200. A member of staff will make sure that you are safe, get you medical treatment if you need it, contact the police if a crime is suspected and involve professionals to investigate and protect you from further harm. Don’t let harm happen to you. Let someone know.”