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- PublicationAdult Safeguarding Legislation and Policy Rapid Realist Literature ReviewThe investigation of, and intervention into the alleged abuse of older people has become a dominant feature of social work in Ireland. The international definition of elder mistreatment adopted in most western countries including Ireland, is: ‘Elder abuse is a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm to an older person’ (WHO, 2008; WHO/INPEA, 2002). Operationalising this abstract definition is to describe types or categories of abuse that older people can be subjected to - physical, sexual, psychological, financial and neglect. Although valuable, the limitations of these narrow and mutually exclusive categories are increasingly recognised (Anand et al., 2013; O’Brien et al., 2011; Naughton et al., 2012). There is a major lack of understanding of the voice and experiences of older people in relation to abuse (Anand et al., 2013; Charpentier and Souliéres, 2013; WHO, 2002b). Irish research has demonstrated that older people conceptualise elder abuse as the loss of voice and agency, diminishing status in society, violation of rights and wider societal influences that undermine a sense of individualism and ‘personhood’ (O’Brien et al., 2011; Naughton et al., 2013).