MPs called on the Government today to do more to help the estimated 500,000 elderly people who are victims of physical, sexual, verbal and other forms of abuse.
The Commons health select committee made a string of recommendations for tackling the problem in the home and in institutions.
"Abuse of older people is a hidden, and often ignored, problem in society," the cross party committee, which is chaired by Labour's Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe, said in a report entitled Elder Abuse.
"The profile of child abuse has been dramatically raised in the past few years and the Government has acted to introduce controls and measures to identify and tackle that problem; but abuse of older people remains in the background.
"It has been put to us that 500,000 older people in England are being abused at any one time, yet many people are unaware of the problem and few measures have been taken to address it."
The committee said it had been given evidence that abuse is inflicted by care staff, relatives, friends and strangers, and takes several forms.
These include sexual, financial and physical abuse, neglect, behaviour designed to degrade and humiliate, and the abuse of medication in controlling and sedating patients.