Charity highlights sex abuse of elderly

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The Independent Online

Action to deal with the sexual abuse of older people - seen as one of society's last great taboos - was demanded yesterday at the national conference of the charity Action on Elder Abuse.

Action to deal with the sexual abuse of older people - seen as one of society's last great taboos - was demanded yesterday at the national conference of the charity Action on Elder Abuse.

Ginny Jenkins, director of the charity, said: "The idea that someone could rape or indecently assault a frail elderly person is so shocking that people often prefer not to think about it at all. But sadly it happens far more than anyone would like to believe.

"As a society we have faced up to the appalling facts about abuse of children and people with learning difficulties and now we must begin to open our eyes to the reality that some people target and abuse vulnerable elderly people."

The charity believes that 5 per cent of older people, around half a million, are abused in some way and 3 per cent of them, around 15,000, are sexually abused. It is campaigning for a national register of all social care workers, the vast majority of whom work with older people.

Tom Burgner, author of a report on social services, called at the conference for tighter regulation on establishments for older people and increased prison sentences for anyone found guilty of abuse.

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