Western Trust Encourages Everyone to Commit to Building a Safer Community for our Older Citizens

15/06/2017

Western Trust Encourages Everyone to Commit to Building a Safer Community for our Older Citizens The Western Trust marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on 15 June 2017 by holding a series of financial exploitation awareness sessions with older people across the Trust area. The events were supported by PSNI and local banks.

This year’s WEAAD theme focused on the financial exploitation and material abuse of older people as a common and serious problem. This type of abuse often goes unreported, partly due to shame and embarrassment on the part of the victims or their inability to report it because of impairments.

WEAAD provides an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

The Western Trust and the Local Adult Safeguarding Partnership are keen to raise awareness of the abusive situations faced by all adults who are at risk including older people, people with mental health issues, learning disability, physical disabilities and those with addictions. Action on Elder Abuse suggests that approximately 500,000 older people in the UK experience some form of abuse every year.

In addition, WEAAD is in support of the United Nations International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

The Western Trust Chief Executive Elaine Way supported WEAAD by signing the International Declaration on Elder Abuse for the third year, marking the Trust’s ongoing concern about the risk to older people who suffer from neglect or are victims of financial, emotional or physical abuse. The declaration calls on all communities to watch for signs of abuse and encourages every citizen to commit to building a safer community for older citizens and will be displayed throughout the organisation.

In 2016-17, a total of 238 adult protection referrals relating to people over 65years were made in Western Trust area, a decrease of 17% from the previous year.

Speaking at the events Karen O’Brien, Assistant Director for Adult Safeguarding said: “The Western Trust is committed to putting safeguarding of adults at the heart of our practice. This year the Trust explored effectives means of strengthening protections against financial and material exploitation, including by improving the understanding of this form of elder abuse and discuss ways of ensuring the participation of older adults themselves in ending victimisation.

“Abuse in any form is not acceptable therefore safeguarding needs to be everybody’s business and promoted throughout all elements of our work so we have a culture that encourages a risk sensible approach to keeping adults safe.”

Abuse can be physical/sexual (e.g. hitting or inappropriate behaviour), emotional, verbal (e.g. name calling) or financial (e.g. taking money or property). Neglect can also be part of abuse. Neglect involves not doing something, such as not providing the adult with food, shelter, medication, or care.

Abuse of older adults most often occurs within the family, by a spouse, children, and/or grandchildren. However, abusers can also include friends, neighbours, paid care providers, landlords and staff, or any individual in a position of power, trust, or authority.

If you are the victim of abuse, or if you are worried about someone who you think may have experienced or is being abused, exploited or neglected, then it is really important to seek help. The Western Local Adult Safeguarding Partnership would encourage anyone with concerns about an adult who may be at risk to inform your nearest social services office or PSNI station.  If you ever feel in immediate danger or think someone else may be in immediate danger, Dial 999.

The Western Trust Adult Protection Team Service can be contacted at 028 7161 1366 or 028 8283 5980 for advice, guidance and support.