Elderly Abuse

Betty was 68 year old when she was living in a Residential care home in Northern Ireland. Her husband Jim had passed away in 1997. Because of Betty’s learning disability, Betty never learnt how to read or write, she relied on Jim completely.

Betty re-married another resident out of the blue. The step-daughter removed the couple from the care home, telling Betty’s family they were all going to live with her sister in England. The family and Social Services tried to intervene but the move went ahead and the family lost contact with Betty for 5 years.

During that time, Betty was imprisoned in her own home, with no TV or telephone, a court heard. The step-daughter never allowed Betty any visitors and had instilled fear into her, telling Betty that both her siblings had died. She also was Power of Attorney, spending Betty’s monthly income of over £1350, leaving her in debt. Betty could often be heard crying by neighbours and although reported, Social Services and the Police had no grounds to gain access or enforce entry. In 2010, after being informed that Betty would undergo an assessment of her mental capacity, Social Services revoked their investigation. The assessment never happened.
In their desperate quest to find Betty, the family put up posters across Northern Ireland. Eventually, in April 2011, the family were contacted by a neighbour who informed them that Betty, now 74, had been rushed to hospital, after being hit in the face by the step-daughter and feared she would not survive. Now away from the step-daughter, Betty was able to tell the nurses about the abuse she had suffered and agreed to see her family. They took out an injunction against the step-daughter.

Betty now lives in a Care home close to her family but has never fully recovered from the abuse. Her health has deteriorated and she has very little money left. Betty has suffered all types of abuse at the hands of the step-daughter. “The law does not protect those who really need it.” Betty’s...