Adult abuse cases down

REPORTS of suspected abuse against vulnerable adults has dropped by more than a third compared to the same period last year.

The figures, which cover the period between April and December last year, show there were 89 reported cases of suspected abuse in Hartlepool compared to 136 for the year before.

Suspected offences include physical, financial, sexual and psychological abuse and neglect.

Care homes are once again the most common location for suspected abuse.

The figures, which were discussed by Labour councillor Ged Hall at a meeting of his adult and public health services portfolio, have been welcomed by civic chiefs.

Council officers say the reduction is down to earlier intervention of suspected abuse, better recording of incidents from care homes and a closer working partnership between the council and care homes in Hartlepool.

John Lovatt, the council’s head of services (adult social care), said lessons had been learned from complaints for suspected abuse or neglect in the past.

Coun Hall said: “I always find it very valuable to get this information and I think it is important that the information is put into the public domain.

“It is an issue that always needs to be highlighted and hopefully the message will get out there and people will feel safer in coming forward and reporting any issues that they may have.”

Between April and December last year, there were 187 alerts identifying suspected cases of abuse or neglect brought to the attention of the duty team, with 89 referrals being raised for further action under safeguarding procedures.

No further action was taken on the remaining 98 alerts.

A report to the meeting said: “Of the alleged victims of abuse/neglect approximately 21 per cent of people were under the age of 65, 27 per cent were between the age of 65-79 and 52 per cent were aged 80 or over. There were twice as many women than men referred.

“Care homes continue to be the most common locations of abuse. Neglect and physical abuse were the most frequent causes. The perpetrators of abuse have been for the most part other service users or paid carers.

“In comparison to the first three quarters of the previous year the number of safeguarding referrals has decreased by 47, which is approximately 34 per cent.”

The number of suspected cases between April and June last year was 30, it rose slightly to 35 between July and September but then reduced to 24 for the period between October and December, giving a total of 89 suspected cases.