Raising awareness of abuse of vulnerable adults

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“Help us protect vulnerable adults – it’s everybody’s business.” That’s the message from West Sussex County Council which is raising awareness of elder abuse.

The county council is highlighting the need to be vigilant of all adult abuse following World Elder Abuse Awareness Day yesterday (Sunday June 15).

Information including posters and leaflets is in all the county’s libraries throughout June.

It can be difficult for people to speak out but encouraging friends and neighbours to raise the alarm if they think that they themselves or an elderly or vulnerable person they know may be experiencing abuse is an important part of the county council’s work to safeguard adults vulnerable to the risk of abuse.

West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services, Peter Catchpole, urges anyone who might have a concern to contact the council.

He says: “Speaking out isn’t always easy but we all need to play our part in protecting vulnerable older people by being alert to the signals of someone being abused.

“We also need to help people who may be unable or less able to protect themselves to feel confident and as able as possible to help them to avoid abuse by others.

“The county council wants to ensure vulnerable adults are supported in the ways they want to keep themselves safe and make it clear adult abuse will not be tolerated. We believe each person has a right to be respected and not threatened, harmed or put at risk.

“It may not be easy to detect abuse but signs could include a change in behaviour with a person becoming more cowed, unkempt, dressed inappropriately and in extreme cases bruised or injured.

“Abuse, even if the person responsible did not intend it to be so, can be really distressing and have a serious impact on a person’s health and wellbeing and we want to avoid it wherever we can.

“If you fear for yourself or someone you know, do not take it into your own hands but contact the police or Adults’ Services.”

There are also other organisations that can provide advice and information that you might find helpful available on our website. For further information visit www.westsussex.gov.uk and search ‘Safeguarding adults at risk’.

There are many types of abuse including physical, emotional, psychological, sexual or discrimination.

Another type of abuse is financial. Every year some adults have their property, funds and resources stolen or they are defrauded, and generally they know the person doing this.

You can pick up leaflets from West Sussex Libraries with more information on what we do.

The adult safeguarding pages on the county council website have information including a guide on what to do if someone is suspected of being abused, information on the county council’s Adult Safeguarding Unit and what it does and an alert form people can use if they suspect someone is at risk of abuse.

If you have any concerns about your own safety or someone you know who is elderly or who may not be able to protect themselves from abuse, or want more information call the county council’s Adults’ CarePoint on 01243 642121.