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Care Providers See 28.4% Increase In Abuse Alerts

New Figures From The Health And Social Care Information Centre Have Revealed The Extent To Which Abuse Affects The UK's Older Population


Figures released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre have revealed a sharp increase in the number of abuse cases affecting older people.

In the last 12 months, there has been a 28.4 per cent increase in the number of alerts made known to councils, but a number of local authorities are struggling to know how to approach the problem.

Councils received 173,000 warnings related to the abuse of adults and 112,000 of these were carried over as safeguarding referrals, which essentially means they are worth pursuing and action will be taken.

Of these cases, 60 per cent affected people over the age of 65 and over, while 26 per cent were related to people aged 85 or over.

Commenting on the increase in abuse alerts, Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: "These numbers are disturbing, even though growing awareness of the abuse of older people is likely to have contributed to the increase in the number of safeguarding concerns reported to and taken forward by English councils.

"They concern some of the most vulnerable people in our society, many of whom feel that they have no one to turn to for help."

One of the main points of contention highlighted by the Health and Social Care Information Centre is that in 36 per cent of cases, no action was taken against the alleged perpetrator of abuse, while six per cent of incidents listed the outcome as "unknown" - indicating potentially poor bookkeeping and tracking procedures.

To combat this problem, Age UK is calling for the coalition's Care Bill to introduce a new offence of corporate neglect relating to care homes and agencies, so that executives have more direct responsibility to stamp out any institutional abuse.

However, previous moves by the government to implement corporate manslaughter into law were met with some obstacles, as it is often difficult to implicate an entire organisation in a person's death.

Expert Opinion
The families of vulnerable members of society expect the welfare of their loved ones to always be the top priority when they are placed into care homes or similar facilities. While a great number of care providers ensure a high standard of care is offered, sadly our work shows that failing are not at all uncommon.

“It is vital that these figures are thoroughly examined to determine what can be done to ensure they do not rise further. Each allegation needs to be thoroughly examined and assessed and lessons learned which will ensure no one else suffers in the future.

“Safeguarding of vulnerable people is so important and it is vital that everything is done to keep adults and children of all ages safe from the devastating consequences of physical and psychological abuse.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner