Keynote speakers at the ‘Older People Matter’ conference organised by the Southern Trust to mark World Elder Abuse day. Standing (L-R) Tony Steed, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Siobhan McGarry, MC, Dr Campbell Killick, Paul Morgan, Executive Director of Social Services, Southern Trust. Seated ((L-R) Veronica Gray, Action on Elder Abuse NI, Eddie Lynch, Commissioner for Older People, Roberta Brownlee, Southern Trust Chair, Laura Lee, Older Person’s Project – Women’s Aid.

To mark the 12th Year of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (Thursday 15th June) the Southern Health and Social Care Trust hosted a conference to raise awareness of the issues associated with the abuse of older people.

Elder abuse can take various forms – it could be neglect, or of a physical, emotional, financial or sexual nature. It can happen anywhere the person lives or visits and very often the abuser will be well known to their victim.

The Planning group for the ‘Older People Matter’ conference organised by the Southern Trust to mark World Elder Abuse day. Standing (L-R) Aidan Gordon, Arch Diocese of Armagh, Daphne Johnston, Head of Service Social Services Workforce Development and Training Team, Tony Steed, Northern Ireland Housing Executive, Veronica Gray, Action on Elder Abuse NI, Paul Morgan, Executive Director of Social Services, Southern Trust, Geraldine Patterson, Ruth Hutton and James Todd, Southern Trust. Seated (L-R) Tessa Murphy, Siobhan Small, Roberta Brownlee and Maggie Nugent, Southern Trust.

Organised in conjunction with the Local Adult Safeguarding Partnership, around 200 delegates attended the event from health, social care, community and voluntary groups and other public sector organisations to share best practice and learning from those directly involved in and affected by Elder Abuse.

Keynote speakers included Dr Campbell Killick, Eddie Lynch (Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland) and Veronica Gray from Action on Elder Abuse NI.

The workshops focused on Developing the Community, understanding the relationship between Domestic Violence and Elder Abuse, Legal Remedies to safeguard older people and anti-fraud initiatives. A debate on ethical issues regarding safeguarding older people who live in care facilities was Chaired by broadcaster Siobhan McGarry.

Some of the workshop contributors for the ‘Older People Matter’ conference organised by the Southern Trust to mark World Elder Abuse day.

Opening the conference, Paul Morgan, Executive Director of Social Work for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust said: “We have a growing older population in the Southern area and every person has the right to grow older with dignity and without fear of abuse or exploitation.

“Safeguarding and protecting the rights of our older population is everyone’s business, that includes the wider community along with statutory services.

“We hope that today’s conference helps to raise awareness of elder abuse and helps us all to work together better to ensure the safety of our older population.”

If you, or someone you know, need help to be protected from abuse please contact Tel: 028 3756 4423 or during evenings and weekends Tel: 028 9504 9999.

Staff from the Social Services Workforce Training and Development Team at the ‘Older People Matter’ conference organised by the Southern Trust to mark World Elder Abuse day.