Adult abuse case reports ‘up 80% in Wokingham’

Reports of suspected vulnerable adult abuse in a Berkshire borough have increased by 80% in the past year, a report shows.

Wokingham Borough Council’s annual report showed there were 380 referrals between April 2010 and 2011, compared with 211 the previous year.

Alleged perpetrators include 92 care staff and 65 family members.

Social services director Stuart Rowbotham said the rise was probably due to an awareness campaign.

The report states that 72% of reported cases have been substantiated.

The most common type of abuse reported was physical with a total of 181 referrals, followed by neglect (106), psychological (79), financial (62), sexual (45), institutional (17) and discriminatory (4).

One care home resident said of staff during mealtimes: “If somebody passed and saw a piece of meat that they liked on your plate, they just picked it up and ate it.

“I suppose that’s where I lost all my weight.”

Wokingham is the first council in Berkshire to release an adult safeguarding report this year.

Mr Rowbotham said: “We’ve been very successful in getting the message out about safeguarding and having good pathways for people to record concerns.

“Across Berkshire and in fact nationally referrals are going up because of that reason.”