Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (384)

Michael Healy-Rae


384. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health if he will report on proposed legislation which would allow powers to be given to State agencies to investigate cases by which an elderly parent or parents are being abused physically or by which an elderly person is having their financial situations being interfered with by another person; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25152/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Deputy's question is well timed as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day took place last Saturday 15 June. The day serves as a call to action for individuals, organisations and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The safety and protection of adults (including older people) who may be at risk of harm or abuse is a key objective of Government and society. This is why the Minister for Health sought Government approval in December 2017 for the development of an adult safeguarding policy for the health and social care sector and any underpinning legislation as required. This will be the first such overarching policy for the health sector.

The Department's ongoing work in this area addresses the Government's Decision to approve this proposal. An overarching sectorial policy of this nature is a complex undertaking, not least because it will cover adult safeguarding in the public, voluntary and private health and social care sector. Consideration will be given to appropriate health sector adult safeguarding measures including investigation of physical and financial abuse.

The Department of Health's focus is on delivering a comprehensive health and social care sector policy and, subsequently, any required legislation to underpin it. It is however, recognised that adult safeguarding (including protection from elder abuse) is a matter for every sector. For example, the type of abuse referred to by the Deputy may often be criminal in nature, and An Garda Síochána can investigate such matters.