Stopping the abuse of older people

Thousands of older people in Wales experience abuse – a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, which causes harm or distress – and crimes committed against older people are under-reported. The types of abuse against older people may include physical abuse; domestic violence; sexual abuse; psychological or emotional abuse; financial or material abuse; organisational or institutional abuse; neglect or acts of omission; and coercive control.

Whilst there is a growing understanding of the scale and nature of abuse and crimes against older people, there is still a lack of meaningful data about the levels of abuse in Wales, and awareness of these issues is still far too low across our public services and society in general.

I will work to stop this abuse by increasing awareness across society, improve preventative actions across public bodies and secure access to justice for those who are or at risk of being abused and help them to feel safe.

The Commissioner will take action to:

  • Increase the awareness of the abuse of older people amongst professionals and across wider society
  • Improve the access to support services for older people at risk of or experiencing abuse
  • Enable more older people who experience abuse to access legal justice
  • Prevent incidences of abuse of older people

Work during 2021-22

Stopping the abuse of older people has remained a key priority for the Commissioner throughout the pandemic, particularly as there were significant concerns about the greater risk to older people of abuse or neglect, or of being targeted by criminals, due to lockdown. In response to this, the Commissioner established an Action Group of organisations who are working together to ensure that older people can get the support they need to keep them safe and protected from abuse and crime.

The Commissioner has led a range of work with key public bodies and stakeholders throughout Wales to ensure that older people who are experiencing, or at risk of, abuse, can get the support they need, which are outlined in the Abuse Action Group’s strategy to end the abuse of older people.

This has led to significant progress in a number of areas, including a commitment from the Welsh Government to deliver a new National Action Plan to prevent the abuse of older people, as well as opportunities to build on new partnerships and initiatives to drive further change for older people by raising awareness of older people’s experiences of abuse, providing more information to older people about how they can get support, and highlighting the gaps that exist in support services for older people experiencing, or at risk of, abuse.

The Commissioner will be:

  • Improving support services for older people experiencing or at risk of abuse, and raising awareness amongst professionals, including training for public bodies
  • Leading partnership work with the Stopping Abuse Action Group, including:
    • Influencing the Welsh Government National Action Plan to prevent the abuse of older people
    • Work to empower and enable older people to share their experiences
    • Research into the experiences of older men at risk of or experiencing abuse
    • Developing work on older people living with dementia and their carers affected by abuse.