Guest Column: Allan Breeton, Independent chairman of Nottinghamshire Safeguarding Adults Board - Adult abuse needs to be stopped

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Child abuse is often in the news, particularly since tragic cases like Baby P and the fallout from the Jimmy Saville abuse claims. But how many of you have heard about adult abuse?

Elder Abuse Awareness Day takes place in June, so we’re using the month to raise awareness about the types of adult abuse, who is affected and how people can report it.

In Nottinghamshire last year, the County Council received 2583 reports of abuse involving people over 65. 629 of these reports led to safeguarding assessments, of which 193 involved people from the Mansfield and Ashfield area. And whilst agencies like the Council, Police and Health Service have a duty to protect those adults who may not be able to protect themselves, we also need the support of local people to help us uncover cases of abuse.

Some abuse happens in care homes or hospitals and we are often alerted by members of staff, other residents or families visiting their loved ones. But other abuse can be carried out against people in their own homes, possibly by their carer, family member or friend.

Abuse can happen in a number of forms – it can be physical (such as hitting or slapping), sexual, verbal or financial (such as theft or fraud). It can also occur through neglect.

Betty Arch, who lived at Spring Lane Care Home in Gedling, died last year after being allowed to take a sandwich from a tea trolley and eat it when she should have been on a soft diet with someone supervising her during mealtimes. A safeguarding investigation found that abuse had occurred in the form of neglect and the family are currently claiming for damages against the owners of the home, which has since closed.

Most care in Nottinghamshire is good, but sadly there are some cases like Betty’s, so we really need your help to look out for those adults who unfortunately can’t always protect themselves. You may have a loved one who is in a care home or is supported by carers at home. Or you may have elderly family or neighbours who you could keep an eye out for.

If you witness anything, or suspect someone could be the victim of abuse, please contact the County Council on 0300 500 80 80. There are also a number of other ways you can look out for vulnerable neighbours and family:

Thank you for your help.