Elder abuse

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2012 National Delegate Conference
15 February 2012
Carried as Amended

Conference notes that currently the process and systems to protect older people throughout the United Kingdom are only based on guidance. Conference believes adult protection should have the same status as child protection.

Every year nearly half a million older people in the UK are suffering some form of physical, psychological, financial and/or sexual abuse. Whilst abuse and neglect can occur anywhere and by anyone in a position of trust, nearly 25% occurs in institutional settings such as residential care homes. Many residents do not report the abuse either because they are afraid, embarrassed or quite simply unable to. Many carers, lack training in identifying abuse and do not know the proper reporting procedures.

For those older people still living in their own homes the closure of day centres, cuts to other essential services and the government’s ‘personalisation agenda’ – where elderly people are given cash to arrange and pay for care in their own homes – also leaves many older people isolated and more vulnerable to abuse.

Conference calls on the National Executive Council to:

1) highlight by any means at their disposal the need to be diligent in respect of care of the elderly and to eradicate all types of abuse in care homes, hospitals and ordinary households by any person;

2) encourage Members of Parliament to pass an Act relating specifically to older people and call upon UNISON to take this issue up as a matter of urgency;

Conference further calls on the National Executive Council to:

a) work with other UNISON structures to prioritise this agenda within a wider strategy that recognises and seeks to influence government;

b) promote as appropriate the development of an equality and human rights-based approach to the delivery of older peoples services and support;

c) recognise the rights of older people and their carers to have a voice, choice and control in the provision of high quality care and support services that are delivered in an equitable way, including upholding and protecting the rights of workers who provide services and support;

d) recognise the fundamental relationship between enforceable legal remedies and the creation of a wider human rights culture that would see all care providers actively embracing human rights as a driver towards providing the highest standards of care possible.