World Elder Abuse Awareness DayThis events has been held every year on 15 June since 2008 and helps raise awareness on how to report abuse and how to seek support for members of the community who are vulnerable and less able to defend themselves against abuse. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is co-ordinated across the UK by the charity Action on Elder Abuse.
YouTube: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
We are committed to ensuring that vulnerable adults are protected from abuse and neglect and we will take immediate action where necessary, to keep vulnerable adults safe from harm.
Some adults may not always be able to protect and care for themselves. They may be particularly vulnerable to abuse and may have their human rights routinely disregarded.
Who might be considered a vulnerable adult?
The broad definition of a vulnerable adult is:
"A person who is 18 years of age or over, and who may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of himself , or unable to protect himself against significant harm or serious exploitation."
What is 'abuse'?
Abuse is mistreatment by any other person or persons that violates a person's human and civil rights. The abuse can vary from treating someone with disrespect in a way which significantly affects the person's quality of life, to causing actual physical suffering.
Abuse can happen anywhere - in a residential or nursing home, a hospital, in the workplace, at a day centre or educational establishment, in supported housing, in the street or in the vulnerable adult's own home.
Forms of abuse include:
- Physical abuse such as hitting, pushing, pinching, shaking, misusing medication, scalding, hair pulling
- Sexual abuse such as forcing someone into unwanted sexual activity, being touched inappropriately, rape, sexual assault, or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not or could not have consented, or to which they were pressurised into consenting
- Psychological or emotional abuse such as intimidation, being threatened, being ignored on purpose, humiliation, blaming, controlling, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, being prevented from friends or family visiting or being prevented from receiving services or support.
- Financial abuse such as stealing someone's money or spending it on the wrong things, putting pressure on someone to make changes to their will or spend their money against their wishes, fraud or exploitation, pressure in connection with property, inheritence, misuse of property, possessions or benefits.
- Neglect such as ignoring medical or physical care needs, preventing access to health, social care or educational services, not caring for someone properly, not providing adequate food, putting them at risk.
- Discriminatory abuse such as when a person is treated unfairly because of their colour, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
- Institutional abuse, such as rigid, intensive routines, or inadequate privacy or comfort. This can happen in care homes or hospitals or when someone receives an institutional style of care in their own home.
Any of these forms of abuse can be either deliberate or be the result of ignorance, or lack of training, knowledge or understanding. It is often the case that a person is being abused in more than one way.
Who might be causing the abuse?
The person who is responsible for the abuse is very often well known to the person abused and could be:
- a paid carer or volunteer
- a health worker, social care or other worker
- a relative, friend or neighbour
- another resident or service user
- an occasional visitor or someone who is providing a service (such as a mobile hairdresser)
- people who deliberately exploit vulnerable people
What should I do?
If you are being abused or think someone else is being abused, you must tell someone. Please don't assume that someone else will do it and don't worry if you think you might be wrong – it is still important for someone with experience and responsibility to have looked into it. It is our responsibility to do so.
If you or someone you know is being abused and is in immediate danger, you need to do something straight away to stop them or others being hurt. You should ring 999 and tell the operator what is happening.
If you think a crime might have taken place, such as rape, assault or theft, please ring the police and be careful not to remove or destroy any evidence.
If you are worried about contacting the police you can always contact social services to talk things over first.
Wherever you live, whether it's a care home or your own home or whichever place you have visited, such as a hospital, health centre or college and you've experienced or witnessed abuse, you can ring social services on 0808 100 2500 for help and advice.
You do not have to say who you are, but this may make it more difficult for us to investigate and protect you or the person being abused.
If you feel nervous about talking to social services, you could ask someone to talk to us on your behalf. This could be a nurse, a carer, an advocate or a friend or relative you trust.
What will happen if I report the abuse?
If abuse is reported to social services, we will arange for an investigation to take place which will follow the policies and procedures established by the South East Wales Adult Protection Executive Group. This may involve several agencies such as health services, police. Action will then be taken to ensure you (or the person being abused) is protected in the future.
We will provide you with the support and advice you need to help you to make any decisions and will help you in taking action to end end the abuse and ensure that it doesn't happen again.
What you tell us will be treated sensitively, but we may have to tell other people to help us to investigate the concern.