[content warning: graphic description of elderly abuse and neglect]
Nearly half a million people aged 65 and over are abused in the UK each year. This abuse includes a range of sickening crimes, namely physical assault, neglect, fraud, and sexual abuse. The charity Action on Elder Abuse, who released this data, also said that a shocking 99% of the abusers go unpunished.
These statistics paint a grim picture: our society is failing people who should be enjoying their golden years in peace and safety. Instead, many live in fear.
This month, Maddy Jobson discovered that her 84-year-old mum, Freda, was one of the many victims of elderly abuse when she watched back footage from a camera in her mum's room. Freda, who used to work as a mental health nurse, has Alzheimer's disease that leaves her confused and vulnerable:
"Three care workers, standing at Freda's bedside, mocked and mimicked her groans, called her a 'witch' and swore at her before removing a bandage from her bedsores and wrapping it around her head." When she was moved to a hospital, the extent of the neglect became apparent: they found that her weight was just 4st, and her bed sores so deep that her bones were visible.
Freda's experience is not exceptional. Yet these crimes are not currently recognised as hate crimes, and punishment tends to be incredibly mild. Please sign this petition to ask that the UK recognise these attacks as an aggravated offence. This will mean harsher sentences for abusers and will help to secure convictions. We must stop turning a blind eye to cruelty that currently affects nearly a quarter of a million of our older people each year.