Reports of elderly and vulnerable people being abused on the rise in North Wales
Daily Post: The number of complaints of abuse committed against vulnerable people in Conwy last year was more than twice the Welsh average, a report has revealed.
The Welsh Government paper showed complaints of abuse to Conwy council’s social services department were proportionally the highest in Wales at 38 per 10,000 people. Most cases were reports of physical abuse, and the majority were alleged to be against victims aged 65 and over. Cllr Phil Edwards, Conwy’s cabinet member for social care, welcomed the report and said robust reporting had helped boost the figures. He said: “The protection and safeguarding of vulnerable adults continues to be a key priority for Conwy’s social services.
“The number of referrals are comparatively higher in Conwy due to good reporting rates which we encourage, and also because the population of older people is greater.
“In addition, public awareness has improved, which has meant that people who have concerns have contacted social services, and this is welcomed.”
There were 1,130 cases of alleged abuse against vulnerable people in North Wales in 2013/14 - a rise of 22.2% from the 2012/13 figure of 925.
Conwy recorded 355 cases in 2013/14, which was up 44.9% from the 2012/13 numbers.
Wrexham had the next highest proportion of reports to social services, with 20 per 10,000 people. Reports in Wrexham were up from 155 in 2012/13 to 210 in 2013/14 - a rise of 35.5%.
Reports of abuse against vulnerable working-age adults in North Wales rose by 27.3% over the year, whereas the all-Wales figure remained virtually static against the previous year’s figures.
The report says 225 of the 355 recorded cases in Conwy involved people aged 65 or over.
In North Wales as a whole, 710 out of 1,130 cases involved people aged 65 and over.
Sexual abuse claims numbered 85, with 45 against alleged victims aged 65 or over.
Some 18.1% of the allegations in North Wales have been proved, while people admitted to 8.4% of them.
Sarah Rochira, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, said: “The increase in the number of POVA referrals in Wales clearly shows that an unacceptable number of older people in Wales are still the victims of abuse and neglect.
“There is much good work underway in Wales to improve safeguarding and investigative systems and processes, which may account for the increase, but more needs to be done to ensure that the nature of abuse and neglect is fully understood by our public services.
“To support this, I am holding a series of safeguarding seminars for professionals who work with older people so that they have the knowledge and skills to ensure that effective action can be taken to prevent abuse and neglect, that concerns are raised at the earliest possible stage, and that older people have access to justice and are supported to quickly regain their safety if abuse and neglect does occur.”