Protecting the most vulnerable
12 November 2012
Hampshire Safeguarding Board publishes Statement of Accountability
Responding to the issues raised by BBC's Panorama programme 'Undercover Care: The abuse exposed' on Winterbourne View private hospital for vulnerable people, raising awareness of safeguarding and working to increase the number of prosecutions for abuse, are among the key achievements highlighted in the recently published Hampshire Safeguarding Adults Board Statement of Accountability for 2011/12.
The multi-agency Board has continued its vital work to protect vulnerable adults from abuse including examining systems and processes, sharing local information to support the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and ensuring that people who work with and care for vulnerable adults are aware of good practices. 'Mate Crime' - a new form of abuse identified by Mencap - is often financial and targeted at adults at risk from manipulation and exploitation. The Safeguarding Board has established a small working group to gain a better understanding of the issues and ensure that those most at risk can protect themselves from abuse.
Another key achievement is the conclusion of a review into the care of people with learning disabilities, who are at higher risk of choking. The review, which found there was no national information on deaths caused by choking in people with learning disabilities, calls for the development of a national response to the issue.
The 2011/12 Statement highlights a rise in the total number of reported suspected cases of abuse from 2,029 in 2010/11 to 2,145 in 2011/12, an increase of over five cent which is partly due to improved recording. These cases cover a wide range of alleged abuse in a variety of settings. The biggest rise was for people with learning disabilities, which increased by 16 per cent to 732 and accounted for a third of referrals. As in previous years, the main reasons for a referral continue to be physical abuse and neglect the latter being the main reason for people aged 65 and over. The location for the majority of abuse cases remains in the person own home or residential care setting.
Cllr Felicity Hindson, Executive Member for Adult Social Care, said:
"Although these figures show an increase in suspected cases of abuse, it is a much lower increase than the previous year. We want people to report their concerns to us so that allegations can be fully investigated, and in cases where evidence of abuse is found, vulnerable adults are given the protection they need.
"Adult abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere and the responsibility for tackling it lies with all of us. Hampshire County Council takes every allegation of abuse seriously and robust safeguarding action is always taken to ensure people are safe and supported.
"Hampshire Safeguarding Board has worked closely with people who use care services to ensure that outcomes of any abuse investigations meet their wishes. Some people do not always wish to proceed with a prosecution, they just want the abuse to stop.
"I am reassured with the progress made in raising awareness of abuse with both the public and professionals and we would urge anyone who has concerns about someone resident in Hampshire to report them to us."
In 2013/14 the Hampshire Safeguarding Board will become a statutory body following Government proposals to strengthen safeguarding for vulnerable adults, including the appointment of an independent chairman.
To refer a safeguarding issue call Adult Services on 0845 603 5630