Abuse of adults is on rise

MORE than 1,000 vulnerable adults in Suffolk reported being abused last year - with 80 per cent of the perpetrators being their relatives.The cases - ranging from taking money to physical and sexual abuse - involved the most dependent people in society, such as frail, elderly adults and those with learning difficulties reliant on care.

MORE than 1,000 vulnerable adults in Suffolk reported being abused last year - with 80 per cent of the perpetrators being their relatives.

The cases - ranging from taking money to physical and sexual abuse - involved the most dependent people in society, such as frail, elderly adults and those with learning difficulties reliant on care.

And social services revealed reports of alleged abuse had “massively increased” in the last year, with only eight cases five years ago.

Out of the 1,153 cases reported to police or social services during 2006/07, 816 were by a family member.

Meanwhile, the majority of abusive incidents occurred in a person's own home rather than in a care home or in public.

Up to 80pc of cases were substantiated and resulted in action either through monitoring or, in the most serious circumstances, criminal prosecution.

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The shocking figures emerged during Suffolk's Adult Safeguarding Conference, held at Suffolk police headquarters in Martlesham and attended by more than 200 people.

Graham Newman, portfolio holder for adult and community services, said the county council was determined to fight abuse of vulnerable adults in the community.

He said: “We have invested in staff and training, and we are way ahead of many other councils in England in doing this.

“Of 27,000 staff, including teachers, some 23,000 have now been trained in how to spot, report and prevent abuse of adults.

“It's about multi-agency working and we are working closely together with the police, social services, private care homes and others.

He added that although they were getting the message across that abuse of any sort of a vulnerable person will not be tolerated, there is still more work to be done.

He said: “It's important for people to know that they should report abuse and they will not be sacked or victimised themselves.”

A county council spokesman said the problem in Suffolk was still very much under-reported, even though referrals had “massively increased” in recent years.

He said: “Violence is very much a part of it and sexual abuse. There is the idea that somehow sexual abuse stops when you get to 65 which it does not.

“There are reports of younger people raping older people or indeed people with severe learning difficulties.”

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