The progress made by Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent in relation to the safeguarding of vulnerable adults has been praised in its annual report.
Improvements in training, an increase in the number of referrals received and a stronger multi-agency approach has led to tackling this issues in a more strategic way across the county.
The word safeguarding means abuse to many people. But it’s not only physical abuse that can happen. It’s also about neglect in an emotional or financial way. Traditionally, the safeguarding of children tends to be higher up the agenda than adults is. But it does still happen.
“We’re pleased that people are becoming more aware of their responsibility to recognise adult safeguarding issues,” said County Councillor, Matthew Ellis, Cabinet Member for Adults and Wellbeing. “Everyone needs to speak up if they feel someone is being neglected in some way. This increase in awareness is reflected in the higher number of referrals we’ve seen over the last 12 months. These have been investigated wherever appropriate ““ so people are definitely getting the message here in Staffordshire.”
Referrals have risen nearly 50% during the past year. Previously 600, these went up to 1,000, a reflection of the awareness message clearly beginning to get through.
The majority of vulnerable adult referrals relates to older people. Although the next highest category was people with learning disabilities. A high profile Dignity in Care campaign was also launched in Staffordshire last year. This helped raise awareness of this increasingly important issue and make it clear that abuse does not just happen to children alone. Inspectors also recognised that Staffordshire’s safeguarding process demonstrated good practice, after a survey of the County’s vulnerable adults was carried out based on their experiences.
An independent review of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Board has led to a restructure which will introduce a new Executive Board. “This will help to create a more engaged, effective and accountable partnership, in terms of safeguarding work,” said Matthew.