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Vulnerable adult safety concerns across south east London

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New figures reveal that there were thousands of vulnerable adult safety concerns across south east London over the past year.

Age UK said abuse and neglect may have thrived behind closed doors throughout periods of lockdown, contributing to a stark national rise in the number of concerns flagged with councils between April 2020 and March this year.

Nationally, nearly 500,000 safeguarding concerns were flagged that year, up 5% from 2019-20, with the very elderly – those aged over 85 – most likely to be the subject.

Caroline Abrahams, from Age UK, said the abuse of older people was a serious concern, adding: “Hundreds of thousands of older people are being affected a year and we expect the pandemic to have made things worse.

“That’s because of the heightened stress across our society and because abuse and neglect tend to thrive behind closed doors, of which there have been more than usual these last 18 months or so.”

Here’s the breakdown of concerns by south east London borough:

Bexley

Nearly 2,000 safeguarding concerns were flagged about vulnerable adults in Bexley during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, figures show.

NHS Digital figures show 1,960 concerns about adults with care and support needs were reported to the council in Bexley in that period, up from the 1,355 recorded the year before – a 45% difference.

If councils believe a vulnerable adult is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect, they must carry out a Section 42 enquiry to determine whether action should be taken.

Around 400 such enquiries were launched in Bexley during the year to March – more than the 280 that commenced in 2019-20.

Roughly 435 such investigations concluded in 2020-21, with the council finding that the highest proportion of allegations in the area were linked to neglect and acts of omission.

The highest number of incidents took place in a person’s own home with the source of risk in Bexley most often someone the person knew.

Across England, where most incidents were likely to happen at home or in residential care, allegations of neglect, physical, psychological or financial abuse were at the centre of most investigations.

In Bexley, there were 230 enquiries involving neglect or acts of omission, 75 concerning physical abuse, 75 about psychological abuse and 75 investigations into financial abuse.

Bromley

More than 1,000 safeguarding concerns were flagged about vulnerable adults in Bromley during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, figures show.

NHS Digital figures show 1,720 concerns about adults with care and support needs were reported to the council in Bromley in that period, up from the 1,335 recorded the year before – a 29% difference.

If councils believe a vulnerable adult is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect, they must carry out a Section 42 enquiry to determine whether action should be taken.

Around 495 such enquiries were launched in Bromley during the year to March – fewer than the 665 that commenced in 2019-20.

Roughly 630 such investigations concluded in 2020-21, with the council finding that the highest proportion of allegations in the area were linked to neglect and acts of omission.

The highest number of incidents took place in a person’s own home with the source of risk in Bromley most often someone unknown to the individual.

Across England, where most incidents were likely to happen at home or in residential care, allegations of neglect, physical, psychological or financial abuse were at the centre of most investigations.

In Bromley, there were 370 enquiries involving neglect or acts of omission, 135 concerning physical abuse, 95 about psychological abuse and 135 investigations into financial abuse.

Greenwich

More than 900 safeguarding concerns were flagged about vulnerable adults in Greenwich during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, figures show.

NHS Digital figures show 945 concerns about adults with care and support needs were reported to the council in Greenwich in that period, up from the 870 recorded the year before – a 9% difference.

If councils believe a vulnerable adult is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect, they must carry out a Section 42 enquiry to determine whether action should be taken.

Around 220 such enquiries were launched in Greenwich during the year to March – more than the 200 that commenced in 2019-20.

Roughly 265 such investigations concluded in 2020-21, with the council finding that the highest proportion of allegations in the area were linked to organisational abuse.

The highest number of incidents took place in a person’s own home with the source of risk in Greenwich most often someone the person knew.

Across England, where most incidents were likely to happen at home or in residential care, allegations of neglect, physical, psychological or financial abuse were at the centre of most investigations.

In Greenwich, there were 10 enquiries involving neglect or acts of omission, 45 concerning physical abuse, 20 about psychological abuse and 35 investigations into financial abuse.

Lewisham

More than 1,000 safeguarding concerns were flagged about vulnerable adults in Lewisham during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, figures show.

But NHS Digital figures show the number of concerns about adults with care and support needs in Lewisham fell during the period to 1,085 down from the 1,415 the year before – a 23% drop.

If councils believe a vulnerable adult is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect, they must carry out a Section 42 enquiry to determine whether action should be taken.

Around 535 such enquiries were launched in Lewisham during the year to March – more than the 400 that commenced in 2019-20.

Roughly 400 such investigations concluded in 2020-21, with the council finding that the highest proportion of allegations in the area were linked to neglect and acts of omission.

The highest number of incidents took place in a person’s own home with the source of risk in Lewisham most often someone the person knew.

Across England, where most incidents were likely to happen at home or in residential care, allegations of neglect, physical, psychological or financial abuse were at the centre of most investigations.

In Lewisham, there were 210 enquiries involving neglect or acts of omission, 70 concerning physical abuse, 65 about psychological abuse and 65 investigations into financial abuse.

General

According to the figures – which are rounded to the nearest five – there were more than 9,000 cases linked to sexual abuse or exploitation investigated nationally.

Kate Terroni, chief inspector for adult social care at the Care Quality Commission, independent regulator of health and social care in England, described the latest figures as concerning but said providers had gone above and beyond to provide high quality care during the pandemic.

She added: “However, where concerns are brought to our attention we will not hesitate to act.

“Where we find people are at risk we will not hesitate to take further regulatory action to ensure people’s safety and human rights are upheld.”

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https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/19593229.vulnerable-adult-safety-concerns-across-south-east-london/