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Shock report reveals hundreds of adults abused in own home
7:00am Tuesday 10th September 2013 in News
MORE than 1,300 cases of adult abuse have been reported in Worcestershire over the past year, it has emerged.
In many cases, the abuse is perpetrated by the victim’s close family and friends the data reveals.
Information from Worcestershire County Council shows how in 2012/13, it received 1,300 “alerts” of alleged abuse against a vulnerable adult.
As well as physical and emotional attacks, the reports included financial abuse such as cases where vulnerable people have money taken from them.
After launching investigations, 750 of them were dropped because there was not enough evidence to prove what had taken place, but 31 were investigated by police.
County Hall says about 60 per cent of the abuse took place inside care homes and 30 per cent in someone’s own home.
Reports of abuse tend to come from people within the victim’s family, concerned neighbours or, in some cases, health professionals.
The findings were debated during an adult care scrutiny panel, with many members saying they were concerned at the results.
Redditch councillor Andy Fry said: “As an authority, we have to be careful here about these findings.
“We know the council has financial pressures and we have to be careful that using less expensive adult care providers doesn’t mean a worse service.”
Councillor Sheila Blagg, cabinet member responsible for adult social care, said: “There will always be cases where a less expensive care provider will be considered the best option, and sometimes that might be from the person’s own family.
“But we are careful not to go down particular routes because of pressure from a family or care provider.
“Everyone is assessed and treated as an individual. It’s not about money, it’s about making sure we’ve got the right people and processes in place.”
The authority says it tends to get about 1,300 to 1,500 cases of abuse reported every year and no stones are left unturned in investigating.
However, Dr Richard Harling, director of adult services and health, said many cases were “extremely complex” and hard to prove.
He said: “As an example, one case I am dealing with at the moment involves two groups of families, and one side has made allegations of abuse against an elderly victim.
“The other side has come back with counter allegations, which gives a different picture, and working all of that through is very detailed and complicated.”
The service works in tandem with Worcestershire’s Adult Safeguarding Board, which says it is working on closer relationships between the council, NHS and police.
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