The Argyll and Bute Adult Protection Committee is urging people to act on their instinct if they think an adult is being harmed, neglected or taken advantage of.
The committee is supporting the Scottish Government’s ‘Adult Support and Protection’ campaign, being launched on 9 February, aimed at raising awareness of adult harm and encouraging people to act on their gut feeling that somebody may be experiencing harm or is at risk of it.
Adult harm can take many forms, such as physical, psychological, financial, and sexual harm and neglect. Getting complete statistics on the prevalence of adult harm in Scotland is difficult, and the full picture is unclear. However, it’s estimated that there are about 300 referrals to council social work departments every week and that, on average, 16 of these will result in an investigation.
Chair of the Argyll and Bute Adult Protection Committee, Bill Brackenridge said, “We all have a duty to look out for people in our communities. People often have an instinctual feeling that someone is being harmed or is at risk; a sense that something is not right. By acting on this, they could help a person who is at risk to overcome the situation and become safe from harm.
“It is not always easy to tell if an adult is in trouble which is why I welcome this Scottish Government campaign to raise awareness of adult harm - the first campaign to raise awareness about adult harm since the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act was introduced in 2007.
“If you thought a child was at risk of harm, you would do something about it. It should be no different for an adult, but many people are not aware of adult harm or of the need to act on their concerns.
“Adult harm can affect anybody, but people who can’t look after or stand up for themselves can be particularly at risk, whether through factors such as personal circumstances, physical or learning disability, age or illness and injury.
“We know sometimes people don’t want to get involved, for fear of being seen to intrude on other people’s privacy or that they might be wrong about the situation and subject another person to unfair accusations. But it is vital that they do raise concerns with their local council. And it is safe to do – you don’t need to provide your personal details and the authorities will check the situation sensitively and support will be given, if needed.”
For your local contact details, visit www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/apc or www.actagainstharm.org/