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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 06:38 GMT
Mistreating the elderly
91 year old Dorothy Blackmore
Dorothy's son suspected that her care-workers were abusing her
The abuse of vulnerable adults and elderly people isn't being taken seriously enough by the authorities, according to research commissioned by the government.

The Charity Action on Elder Abuse, which has been conducting a limited study into the problem, uncovered more than 600 cases of abuse in six months. But only five of those ended up in court.

This morning on Breakfast:

  • Graham Satchell heard the disturbing story of 91 year old Dorothy Blackmore, who was abused by care workers in her own home.

    Her son installed a secret video camera because he suspected something wasn't right - and recorded horrifying scenes of verbal and physical abuse.

    The two carers who treated her so badly were taken to court and sentenced last week.

  • We talked to the government's Care Services Minister Liam Byrne.

    He announced that the government will be setting up a national network of Dignity Guardians, to make sure that elderly and vulnerable people are treated with the respect they deserve.

  • We heard from the campaigner Esther Rantzen and Nadra Ahmed of the National Care Association.

    Recordings of our interviews will be available later today on this page.

    The study by Action on Elder Abuse looked at nine local authorities in England over six months. It uncovered 639 cases of abuse in just six months. More than half involved the elderly and two thirds of the victims were women.

    Just over 200 of the abuse cases took place in the person's own home, 188 were in care homes.

    Most of the abuse cases in a vulnerable adult's own home involved a paid care worker - although abuse by family members other than carers was also common.

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