Abuse complaints by vulnerable adults increase

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COMPLAINTS of abuse suffered by vulnerable adults in Northamptonshire, passed on by the likes of police, the NHS and care homes, rose by more than a third in 12 months.

Safeguarding referrals between 2011 and 2012 totalled 3,216, which was up from 2,403 in the previous year, according to the annual report by the county Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults (SOVA)board.

However the number of substantiated allegations fell from 417 to 380. Almost 700 are still being investigated.

The setting where most alleged abuse took place was in people’s own homes, with 1,175 referrals. Care homes, with 741 referrals, was second.

Marie Seaton, the SOVA board’s chairwoman, said: “The increase in referrals relating to people’s homes can be attributed to increased review activity and reporting mechanisms being in place, such as within East Midlands Ambulance Service, NHS Northamptonshire Healthcare and domiciliary care services.

She added: “Key themes from investigations into care home referrals point to poor leadership and/or inadequate management as well as the lack of training for staff.”

Referrals over suspected neglect, including pressure ulcer care, nutrition and medication were the most common, with a total of 1, 140 allegations.

Physical abuse made up 1,059 of the complaints.

Mrs Seaton said: “All people, in every walk of life, whether in the course of their private or professional life, must remain alert to vulnerable adults, who may be at risk of abuse, and report it accordingly.”