The Health Service Executive said it will complete the recruitment of staff shortly to address issue of elder abuse.

The announcement came after figures released today by the Courts Services showed an increase in the number of parents taking out barring and safety orders against their adult children.

Last year 102 parents were granted a safety order against an adult child compared with 91 in 2005, while 200 barring orders were granted in 2006 compared with 173 the previous year.

The HSE has 26 elder abuse officers with six more due to be appointed shortly.

The group Age Action Ireland said the figures underline a wider issue. It says more than 20,000 older people suffer from some form of abuse in Ireland.

This can include physical abuse, psychological abuse and also financial abuse where an older person's money or property is effectively signed over to a family member due to psychological pressure.

Research is being conducted to provide detailed statistics about the scale of the problem in Ireland.

The HSE will run an awareness campaign about elder abuse this autumn.