Huge Increase In Abuse Of Elderly

Hundreds of elderly and vulnerable people are being abused in Swansea by those who should be looking after them, a new report has shown.Organisations which help tackle the cruel phenomenon believe the huge rise is down to greater awareness.

But the number of victims referred to the area adult protection committee went up by 32 per cent to 429 last year.

Nearly three out of five were women, the report for Swansea Social Services reveals. Victims are said to have suffered ill treatment at the hands of relatives and friends and, in some cases, from health and social care staff.

It is thought many others probably go unreported.

Of the victims, 162 had learning disabilities, 45 had mental health issues and 31 were elderly and mentally infirm.

Another 28 were suffering from a physical disability and 10 were victims of the effects of substance misuse.

According to the report, 124 suffered abuse in their own homes, 70 in residential care homes and 35 in nursing homes. Another 32 were abused in a day-care setting, while 17 suffered while in hospital.

The abuse ranged from physical or sexual to financial, psychological and cases of neglect. In 77 of the cases, health service and social care staff were alleged to have been the perpetrators of abuse.

Relatives were reportedly responsible for 97 cases of abuse and friends for a further 18 cases.

Investigations by the adult protection committee have led to a variety of outcomes.

Among those allegedly responsible, seven have been prosecuted, another seven dismissed, 11 given extra training and six have been disciplined or given a formal warning. Another nine have resigned.

Age Concern Swansea director Sue Richards said it had long been recognised that there was abuse in various forms behind closed doors, both in the community and care settings.

She added: “This can be physical, financial, emotional, neglect and so on. But with the new structures and action planning of the last few years, obviously we are very pleased that more of these dreadful situations are being investigated.”

“Age Concern Swansea has a specialist officer who organises training for staff and volunteers to enable early identification of any issues and to ensure they are dealt with appropriately. We work with partner agencies so we can bring about the right action and support.”