Reports of adults suffering abuse are going up

Ann Baxter Chair of the Teeswide Safeguarding Adults Board
Ann Baxter Chair of the Teeswide Safeguarding Adults Board

Concerns about adults potentially being abused have continued to rise in recent years.

An annual report of the Teeswide Safeguarding Adults Board highlighted says care homes in the region are one of the main places where concerns of abuse and neglect are being flagged up.

There were 4,275 concerns recorded Teeswide from April 2016 to March this year, of which 1,565 further local authority action.

But officials say the increase is a good sign that efforts to reduce barriers to reporting abuse and improve awareness of adult safeguarding are having a positive impact.

Ann Baxter, chair of the adults safeguarding board, told a meeting of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Adult Services Committee: “The key message around the numbers last year is that there has been an increase in people referring concerns about adult safeguarding, and they’re from a range of forums, the highest being care homes and institutions where people are living together but also people in their own homes.”

She added: “It’s good that people know that they can report concerns and there will be services so that will raise the numbers, but we know that there is a concern about the number of adults who have safeguarding issues.

“We now have a Tees board that is working well, that is supported by good staff and has systems and processes in place that seem to be working well.”

The board’s members include four local councils including Hartlepool, health, police and other partners.

The Care Act introduced three new categories of including abuse and neglects including self neglect, domestic abuse and modern slavery.

There was a 60% increase in domestic abuse enquiries in the last year.

Some of the concerns around care homes relates to medication errors. Councillor Stephen Thomas, chair of the adult services committee, said Hartlepool had seen a significant reduction in such errors after the town was chosen as a pilot area for extra training.