Baby P case is tragic, but who is fighting for the abused elderly?

With the all the understandable attention given to the tragic death of Baby P, and the awful failings of the child protection system, it is easy to think that this is the only area where abuse has continued without robust intervention. But nothing could b

With the all the understandable attention given to the tragic death of Baby P, and the awful failings of the child protection system, it is easy to think that this is the only area where abuse has continued without robust intervention. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Every day adults are also experiencing horrendous abuses - a government sponsored report last year conservatively suggested as many as 342,000 older people each year suffer such abuse - and in some cases they die horrible deaths.

Most people would be unaware that the law, under which those responsible for the death of Baby P were charged, was drafted as a consequence of the abuse of 78-year-old Margaret Panting. She died covered in bruises and cuts that the coroner said could only have been made with something like a razor blade.

Last October the government launched a consultation process on how effective current guidance systems (called No Secrets) have been in protecting adults at risk of abuse.


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They did so because of the increasing demands for radical change from those who work in this field. But the public can be forgiven for not knowing this is happening, because there has been scant promotion of the exercise, which will conclude at the end of January 2009.

The death of a child is an awful thing. But so is the unlawful killing of a vulnerable adult. And you feel pain just as much at 78 years as you do at 8 years. So let us be as righteously angry over Margaret Panting and Steven Hoskin as we are about Victoria Climbie or Baby P. And let us expect an equality of action from our Government.

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Further information can be found on our website at www.elderabuse.org.uk.

Gary FitzGerald

Chief Executive

Action on Elder Abuse

1268 London Road, SW16

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