Reports of abuse against vulnerable adults rises in Hartlepool

Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

Council chiefs say an increase in reports of potential abuse of vulnerable adults is due to greater public awareness.

The number of suspected abuse alerts to Hartlepool Borough Council rose significantly from 305 in 2013-14 to 415 last year.

Carl Richardson

Carl Richardson

But the authority described the rise as “positive” saying it was a reflection of better awareness and how to report concerns.

Councillor Carl Richardson, chairman of the Adult Services Committee, said: “The council’s adult social care team do a fantastic job and I applaud the work that they do to protect the town’s vulnerable adults.

“The increase in safeguarding alerts identifying possible cases of abuse of adults over the last year demonstrates that people are now better informed and know what to do should they want to raise a concern.

“The performance report figures show that of the 415 safeguarding alerts in 2014-15, 302 of these required no further specific action around safeguarding.

Vulnerable adults are a top priority for this council

Councillor Carl Richardson

“The alerts are however vital to us as they enable us to intervene at an early stage, arrange for support if necessary and prevent issues from escalating.”

A change in the law has also seen a massive increase in the number of people being referred to the local authority to be assessed for whether they should be deprived of their liberty in order to care for them in their best interests.

A judgement by the Supreme Court last year means thousands more people now fall under the criteria for the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS).

Hartlepool has seen a 1,605%increase of referrals between 2013-14 and 2014-15 from 38 to 648.

A new team has had to be created within the adult services department to cope with the extra workload.

Coun Richardson added: “The increase is a reflection of legislative changes which have impacted similarly on all councils.

“The people of Hartlepool can be assured that vulnerable adults are a top priority for this council and we have a track record for our high standards and professional integrity.”