Protect Yourself

What to do if Elder Abuse is suspected?
What happens to reports of suspected Abuse?
Who might abuse
Where might abuse occur?
Contact us for Help and Advice

What to do if Elder Abuse is suspected?

If you are a victim of Elder Abuse, are concerned about abuse, or if you suspect someone you know may be a victim of abuse, you should contact the HSE elder abuse service, through your GP, Public Health Nurse, local Health Centre or any of your local Senior Case Worker or An Garda Siochana.

The HSE has a dedicated Elder Abuse Service, with Senior Case Workers in Elder Abuse now working in most Local Health Office Areas. Click for a list of Senior Case Workers and their contact details.

What happens to reports of suspected Elder Abuse?

All reported cases of Elder Abuse are treated very seriously. All cases will be treated with confidentiality and, in so far as is practical, will be handled in a way that respects the wishes of the older person. The prime focus is on ensuring the safety and well-being of the older person while providing supports to stop the unwanted behaviour and facilitate the continuation of care.

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Who might abuse?

A wide range of people may abuse older people, including relatives and family members, professional staff, paid care workers, volunteers, other service users, neighbours, friends and associates.

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Where might abuse occur?

Abuse can take place in any context. It may occur when an older person lives alone or with a relative; it may occur within residential or day-care settings, in hospitals, home support services and other places assumed to be safe, or in public places.

Patterns of abuse and abusing vary and reflect different circumstances:

  • Long-term abuse, in the context of an ongoing family relationship, such as domestic violence or sexual abuse between spouses or generations.
  • Opportunistic abuse, such as theft occurring because money has been left around.
  • Situational abuse, which arises because pressures have built up and/or because of the difficult or challenging behaviour of the older person.
  • Neglect of a person's needs because those around him or her are not able to be responsible for their care; for example if the carer has difficulties because of debt, alcohol or mental health problems.
  • Unacceptable 'treatments' or 'programmes', which include sanctions or punishment, such as the withholding of food and drink, seclusion, the unnecessary and unauthorized use of control and restraint, or the over, or under, use of medication.
  • Racist, ageist and other discriminatory practices by staff, including ageism, racism and other discriminatory practices, which may be attributable to the lack of appropriate guidance.
  • Misappropriation of benefits and/or use of the person's money by other members of the household or by care staff.
  • Fraud or intimidation in connection with wills, property or other assets

Abuse in a Residential / Acute Setting
If you are being abused, are concerned about abuse or suspect that someone you know is being abused in a residential or acute (hospital) care setting then you should contact

  • Your relative or friend
  • Your GP / visiting GP
  • Public Health Nurse
  • The Manager of the Unit
  • HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority)
  • Senior Case Worker
  • General Manager in your local health office
  • HSE Information Line 1850 24 1850

All queries / reports will be treated with confidentiality and, in so far as is practical, will be handled in a way that respects the wishes of the older person.

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Contact us for Help and Advice

The HSE has a dedicated Elder Abuse Service, with Senior Case Workers now working in most Local Health Office Areas. Please click for the list of Senior Case Workers and their contact details. You can also seek advice from the HSE Information Line

HSE Information Line
Monday to Saturday, 8am-8pm
Call Save: 1850 24 1850
Email: info@hse.ie