Adult Abuse ‘More Likely At Home’

Vulnerable adults in the south Wales valleys are more likely to be abused by a family member than anyone else, according to official figures.

Adult protection officers from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council handled 530 referrals about adult abuse in 2006 to 2007.

The figure rose from 350 the previous year and followed an awareness campaign by the council for people to report concerns for vulnerable adults.

Statistics showed most vulnerable adult abuse happened in the victim’s home.

It also showed that women were more likely to be abused than men and older people were more likely to become a victim of abuse.

But research also revealed that a vulnerable adult is more likely to be abused by their son or daughter. Financial “abuse”, followed by physical abuse, are most common.

A vulnerable adult is defined as a person over 18 in need of community care for a “mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation”.

John David, the council cabinet member for health and adult services, said reporting abuse was confidential and staff at the council were trained to look out for signs of abuse.

“Despite this, and the 14 prosecutions we’ve been able to bring in the last two years, there are people in our borough being abused and we need to identify it and stop it and put measures in place to try and help stop it happening in the future,” he said.

“Our statistics show that people are more likely to be abused in their own home and by a family member, which emphasises the need for us all to be aware.

“We’ve been trying hard to get the message out that people should call us if they have concerns about someone being abused.

“The fact that we’re getting more referrals to us is actually a good thing as we know the problem undoubtedly exists and this way we can do something about it.

“However, we still have people who suffer in silence and that’s a big worry.”