The famous founder of a Blackpool-based helpline for lonely older people has called for abuse of the elderly in care homes to be treated as seriously as hate crimes.
Dame Esther Rantzen, founder and president of The Silver Line, a 24-hour confidential helpline for vulnerable OAPs, said tougher sentences were needed for criminals who preyed on the elderly.
In an interview with The Daily Express, she said: “When I hear of the elderly being abused it’s always incredibly shocking and makes me despair of the human race that people can be so ruthless and so dishonest.
“If the only way to achieve tougher sentences on those who prey upon the vulnerable and elderly is a change in the law, then clearly it is necessary.”
Some five per cent of calls to The Silver Line are to report neglect or abuse, the helpline said.
A spokesman said: “Callers tell us they feel more comfortable confiding in us (as a first port of call) rather than immediately involving the authorities – or dont know where or who to turn to in first instance.
“One of the reasons The Silver Line was set up was to offer that ‘single point of contact’ to direct people to local support services.
“In cases of reporting of abuse, we will liaise with appropriate authorities such as the Care Quality Commission or Action On Elder Abuse, as warranted to resolve.”