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Legislation governing older people goes under spotlight

16 Rhagfyr 2008

Cardiff Law School has hosted a seminar to examine whether Wales could benefit from new laws to protect older people from abuse.

The ‘Safeguarding Older People in Wales – is legislation the answer?’ seminar brought together an all-Wales panel of experts to test expert opinion on whether new legislation is the answer.

Organised by Help the Aged in Wales and Age Concern Cymru, it was attended by Ruth Marks, the Commissioner for Older People in Wales, who gave the keynote speech. The seminar also involved workshops and presentations on issues such as the effectiveness of current legislation in protecting older people.

Professor Luke Clements, director of the Centre for Health and Social Care Law at Cardiff Law School, opened the seminar with an analysis of the effectiveness of the current legislation and any gaps in the framework for protecting older people from abuse.

Ana Palazón, Director of Help the Aged in Wales said: "We estimate that as many as 25,000 older people in Wales could be suffering elder abuse, but the very nature of this problem – where people can often be too afraid to report that they are being abused, makes it difficult to know for certain how widespread the problem actually is.

"Today’s event will bring together older people, adult protection workers, charities involved in promoting and protecting older people’s interests with legal experts to look at what needs to be done in Wales to stop elder abuse, and whether new legislation is one of the solutions to this problem."

Robert Taylor, Age Concern Cymru Chief Executive commented: "Many of us will find it difficult to get our heads around the idea that elder abuse is a fact of life for many older people in modern Wales, but elder abuse does happen, and it happens every day on our doorsteps in communities right across Wales. We cannot allow this to continue.

"We’ve organised this seminar to inform our work in this area and so that together we can influence the development of adult protection policies for Wales and consign elder abuse to the pages of history."