The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has agreed to look again at proposals aimed at strengthening legislation to protect older and disabled people.
The proposals under consideration include:
The commitment was given to a delegation on 11 September 2013, led by Paul Burstow M.P, and which included Sarah Rochira, (Older People's Commissioner for Wales), Baroness Greengross, and Gary FitzGerald, Chief Executive of the charity Action on Elder Abuse.
Introducing a power of access to allow local authorities to carry out a confidential interview with a vulnerable adult believed to be at risk of abuse or neglect, when a third party is denying access to that person. This would only be used as a last resort and would need to be accessed through the magistrates court. A similar power already exists in Scotland and is under consideration in Wales.
Introducing a new offence of Corporate Neglect to sanction care home or care agency managers who allow a culture of abuse and neglect to continue in their organisations.
Introducing a new offence of ill treatment or neglect to extend protection to vulnerable adults who have mental capacity
Paul Burstow said after the meeting, "Older people see the terrible abuse in Winterbourne View, the neglect at Mid Staffs, and the stories about poor care in some care homes and ask why no one ever goes to jail. These shocking stories are just the tip of the iceberg as most abuse is out of sight and out of mind. The Prime Minister should use the Care Bill to toughen up the law and send a powerful message that abusing and neglecting older and vulnerable people won't go undetected and unpunished."
Gary FitzGerald said, "We are pleased that the Prime Minister has recognised the importance of the changes we are proposing, and will look again at how legislation can be improved. Thousands of older people are abused each year and theirs is a silent scream of pain and suffering. We need to hear it and address it. There should be no hiding place for abusers. No one should profit from abuse. This has to end."