Over the past decade or so, social and economic pressures have forced Western governments to focus on policies that address the needs of the older population. The recognition of ‘elder abuse’ as a social issue has coincided with this focus on the aged and, in particular, on the more vulnerable sections of the aged population. In the UK, Sumner (2002) suggests that recognition of the issue is due to broadening of research into abuse of vulnerable adults in the 1970s and 1980s. The scale of abuse which was identified triggered wider debate over the last twelve years, with the establishment of networks such as the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), and campaigning organisations such as Action on Elder Abuse, POPAN and VOICE UK.