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The following article is by Patrick Horan, who is both a voluntary Chair and an
The following article is by Patrick Horan, who is both a voluntary
Chair and an Access Officer with the Southwark Disability
The article was originally published as a part of Patrick's fortnightly
column for the Southwark News newspaper, and it concerns
Safeguarding Adults.
Patrick is a representative on the Southwark wide Safeguarding
Adults Partnership Board.
Patrick will be standing for election as an Independent, as one of
your three elected, Local Government representatives for the
Rotherhithe ward in Southwark in May 2010.

THIS WEEK I will be discussing safeguarding adults. Do not think it does not concern you, as it does. Safeguarding adults is everyone's business.

When we get older, which is a given, most of us will run the risk of abuse as a vulnerable adult. The charity, Action on Elder Abuse estimates that half a million people in the UK suffer abuse at the hands of their families.

In Southwark, approximately 50 per cent of the known cases of alleged abuse involve an individual in a caring role.

You could say we are lucky in Southwark as none of the high profile cases that have taken place nationally and recently in a neighbouring borough took place here. Even so, one vulnerable person suffers abuse every three days in Southwark, so we all have to be very vigilant and report any signs of abuse to 0845 600 1287 or to Southwark Police. We have to have zero tolerance.

It's not just the elderly who can become victims of abuse, but people with mental health problems, learning difficulties, physical disabilities and any adult over eighteen.

Safeguarding Adults want to encourage all Southwark residents to take a stand against abuse. Whether you work with older people or have friends or neighbours who might be vulnerable, help us by looking out for them and reporting signs of abuse. Signs to look out for are

* Unexplained marks or bruises on the body.

* Sudden change in personality

* Cancelling appointments for no valid reason.

* Not being able to talk in privative

* Unexplained movement of funds.

Last Thursday 6th November at the Southwark Safeguarding Adults Partnership Annual conference held in the conference room at Millwall Football Club, Susanna White Chief Executive of the PCT and Safeguarding Adults, informed the participants that 236 referrals were made to Southwark Safeguarding Adults between April 2007 and March 2008. That's 236 too many as we have a zero tolerance approach to ensure that all adults especially those with Community Care needs are protected.

That figure of 236 is an increase of 22 per cent from last year's figures. Given that victims report only a quarter of cases, its possible this figure could be much higher but it could be also a much higher awareness due to the successful publicity campaign by the Southwark Safeguarding Adults team.

Also at the conference Councillor David Noakes the Executive member for Health and Adult Care launched the new Southwark Safeguarding Adults Winter Campaign ‘Don't Turn Your Back on Adult Abuse’ and will run from December 1st. I would like to pay tribute to Tom White and his group of six lay inspectors, who voluntarily inspect care homes to make sure residents, are not being abused in anyway. I am on the executive and the main boards of Southwark Safeguarding Adults. Until the next time may your God go with you.