Social workers should have the power to break into homes to check that elderly and vulnerable people are not being harmed by their children, ministers have said. New laws should also give them the right to remove old people who are at risk from their homes - even if they do not want to go.
Gary Fitzgerald of Action on Elder Abuse said: 'These plans will not ensure older people and other adults at risk of abuse get the sort of protection available to children, people experiencing domestic violence, or even animals.
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. Graham Satchell heard the disturbing story of 91 year old Dorothy Blackmore, who was abused by care workers in her own home. (videos available on BBC website).
Forgotten: 500,000 elderly people could be victims of crime but do not report their offenders through fear or embarrassment. Prosecutors fear up to 500,000 elderly people could be the victims of street crime, bogus traders and abuse in their homes. Legal experts said crimes against older people are vastly underestimated because many victims do not report them through fear or embarrassment.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it is determined to see those who prey on society's most frail and vulnerable citizens brought to justice. Draft guidelines have been published setting out how prosecutors will bring cases against suspected offenders and support victims.
There was a time when we valued older people as the wise in our society. They looked after grandchildren, and cared for the troubled. They had much to give. Now, the old in Britain are seen as a burden. We make them feel worthless, past it, of no use, superfluous, as if they should have died years ago. When we give them help, we do things for them, rather than with them, and by doing so, we demean them.
They are forced to sell their homes to pay for their care, and ageing married couples are split up to be shoved into nursing homes, where they are too often abused or treated with contempt.