Elder neglect and abuse is a widespread, largely undiagnosed and often ignored problem in our society. However, recently elder abuse has gained increasing recognition as a significant problem, meriting the attention of both clinicians caring for older people and society at large. Its occurrence in differing forms throughout the world has been highlighted as part of a recent WHO report about violence and health. In the United Kingdom, the House of Commons Health Committee has inquired into elder abuse and published its report and recommendations in April 2004. Concurrently with this rising public interest, there is a slowly developing body of scientific work on the subject. Although, much of the research has been criticized for significant scientific flaws, recent work has been more rigorously designed, tending to use standard case-definitions and scientifically acceptable research methods.