This chapter considers the different definitions of elder abuse and provides estimates of its extent. It examines the current legal approach to the issue: through the private law remedies; the response of the criminal law; and the inspection regime for care homes. It emphasises the lack of a scheme of public law protection of the kind that is available in respect of children who are suffering abuse. The chapter looks at the causes of elder abuse in institutional and private settings. It also considers the difficult issues that can arise where the older person does not want protective legal intervention.
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