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New commissioner for older people vows to uncover financial abuse involving the elderly

Eddie Lynch began his four-year post yesterday as the new commissioner for Older People

THE new commissioner for Older People has pledged to uncover the extent of financial abuse involving the elderly.

Speaking on his first day as commissioner on Tuesday, Eddie Lynch said he was "committed to shining a spotlight on this issue".

Mr Lynch also said he aims to "promote awareness" of issues that impact older people during his four years in the role.

"Tackling abuse against older people will be one of my priority areas for action," he said,

"The subject of abuse against older people is a very important one. It can take many forms, such as physical, emotional, sexual and financial, as well as through neglect.

"Abuse causes fear, anxiety and distress to all older people who are at risk or those who have experienced abuse or harm.

"While all forms of abuse can have a significant impact on older people, feedback that I have received from a range of institutions and individuals has indicated that financial abuse is an escalating problem that is too often under reported.

"Financial abuse includes a wide range of actions, such as scams, theft, fraudulent investments and lotteries, withholding pension or benefits or exerting pressure around wills, property or inheritance.

"There is no doubt that financial abuse is a difficult and painful issue for some older people to report, especially when the perpetrator is a relative, friend or carer."

Mr Lynch added that he intends to "uncover the true extent and scope of financial abuse in our society and work with other organisations to tackle it".

"A clear message will be sent to those who are cruel and unscrupulous enough to prey on older people that their crimes will not be tolerated," he said.

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