A simple phone call could make all the difference to your, or someone else’s life. That is the message from Argyll and Bute’s Adult Protection Committee who are calling for people to speak up and report harm which is happening to them or another person.
Harm can be physical, emotional, sexual or financial. It may also take the form of neglect or not providing someone with adequate care. The important thing is to speak up as there are many people willing to help - social workers, the police, your doctor, and even a sympathetic and helpful neighbour or friend.
Ensuring that care is in place for our vulnerable adults is a key part of ensuring that our communities are safe and strong and that people can live active, independent lives. Over the last two years we have had an increase in referrals from many sources, which reflects our increased training commitment but also may be due to the increasing level of public awareness which is extremely encouraging.
During 2012-13 there were 446 adult protection referrals, and during 2013–14 that increased to 556: 183 from Bute and Cowal, 178 from Helensburgh and Lomond, 127 from Mid Argyll, Kintyre and Islay and 68 from Oban, Lorn and The Isles.
Being an adult is about being able to look after yourself but people can become frail, they can develop dementia, they can suffer from mental illness and alcohol or drugs can take their toll.
It’s important that people in Argyll and Bute are aware of the issues some adults face from physical injury to cynical exploitation. We want people to take action and change a life, possibly their own, and it could all begin with a phone call.
The adult protection committee is made up of senior staff from many of the agencies involved in protecting adults who may be at risk.
The committee has an independent chair, Bill Brackenridge, who said, “The committee has been working together for almost six years now, and we are encouraged to see that more referrals are received each year for adults who are being harmed. Everyone owes it to their friends, their family and their neighbours to think about whether they may be at risk of harm. Reporting harm means that an adult who cannot protect themselves gets the right help and support to keep them safe.”
If you wish to report harm which is happening to you, or if you think harm is happening to another adult, please call Argyll and Bute Council’s social work on 01546 605517. Outwith office hours please call 01631 566491 or 01631 569712.
To find out more about adult protection and to get details of the training courses on adult protection that take place throughout Argyll and Bute. The courses are all free and are open to anyone who may come across an adult at risk of harm.
What is harm?
Harm could be physical, such as being kicked, hit, punched, bitten or shaken. It could mean being locked in a room.
Emotional harm is when someone makes you feel upset or sad, bullies or scares you, ignores you, puts you down or treats you like a child.
Sexual harm is when someone touches you in a way that does not feel right, or makes you have sex if you don’t want to. No-one should take sexual photographs of you at private times, or force you to watch sexual photographs or DVDs, and no-one should make you do sexual things for money.
Financial harm means stopping you from having or using money of your own, or stealing your benefits or forcing you to change your will. A profile of those most likely to commit financial abuse against people over 66 found an elderly person’s son and/or daughter was the most likely perpetrator.
Neglect means stopping you getting the things you need, such as food or medicine, or not helping you to keep clean or warm. It could mean leaving you alone for a long time.
Self harm happens when people are very upset or worried. They may cut or bite themselves or pull out their hair. Self neglect happens when you don’t look after yourself properly because you are ill or very unhappy.