Elder abuse


Elder abuse is recognised as a concern in Ireland. While most older people do not experience abuse, unfortunately, there are some who are harmed or abused by others.

What is elder abuse?

According to the Report of the Working Group on Elder Abuse: Protecting our Future (2002) (pdf) elder abuse is the abuse of someone aged 65 or over and it occurs within a relationship where there is an expectation of trust. It is a single or a repeated act, or a lack of appropriate action, that causes harm or distress to the older person or that violates their human and civil rights.

Where does it happen?

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

Are there different forms of elder abuse?

There are different forms of elder abuse which may be carried out deliberately, or through negligence or ignorance. An older person may experience more than one form of abuse at any given time. The various forms of abuse are:

  • Psychological abuse
  • Neglect and acts of omission
  • Financial or material abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Discrimination

Information on the various forms of elder abuse, and how to recognise the signs, is available on the Health Service Executive (HSE) website.

How do I report my concerns?

The HSE has a dedicated elder abuse service, with Senior Case Workers in elder abuse working in most Local Health Office areas.

If you suspect someone you know may be a victim of abuse or if you are a victim of elder abuse, you should contact the HSE elder abuse service, through your local health centre, your Local Health Office, your GP, Public Health Nurse, your local Senior Case Worker or the Garda Síochana.

Further information

Further information is available from the HSE Information line.

Health Service Executive

Information Line

Opening Hours:Monday to Saturday, 8am-8pm
Tel:(041) 685 0300
Locall:Call Save 1850 24 1850
Email: infoline1@hse.ie

Page edited: 24 May 2016