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Council chiefs deny failings over adult abuse cases in Warwickshire

Laura Kearns 5th Jan, 2018 Updated: 5th Jan, 2018

CLAIMS Warwickshire County Council fails to investigate 90 per cent of adult abuse concerns have been dismissed as ‘wrong’.

Action on Elder Abuse, a charity which combats abuse against older people, say Warwickshire is in the bottom ten councils nationwide for acting on abuse concerns.

They say nearly 3,000 abuse concerns were reported to the council last year, including beatings, sexual assault, neglect and theft, but just 300 of these resulted in an inquiry.

The figure is way below the average in England of 41 per cent.

The numbers were revealed in the charity’s most recent report, which also says there are issues with care legislation leading to ‘massive’ differences in the number of people whose cases are investigated by local authorities.

Charity director Stephen McCarthy said: “The statistics paint a picture of a ‘postcode lottery’ of disjointed, variable practice across England which suggests that whether or not you are kept safe from abuse can be almost entirely down to where in the country you happen to live.

“If the concerns not investigated by Warwickshire had occurred in another part of England they would have received a more positive response, and this cannot be right.

“Those responsible for adult safeguarding need to take immediate responsibility for this situation and address these inadequacies as a matter of urgency. Too many people who are old, frail and in vulnerable situations appear to be left to fend for themselves in abusive or neglectful situations and this must stop.”

But Warwickshire County Council said the charity was ‘wrong’ and claimed that even if a concern was not investigated the adult was still supported.

A council spokesman said: “Each and every adult safeguarding concern is thoroughly assessed, and a careful decision is made about whether the criteria for a formal adult safeguarding enquiry have been met. To suggest that nothing happens to nine out of ten of these concerns is wrong.

“Where the criteria for an adult safeguarding enquiry are not met, it does not mean we take no action, but that we will continue to support the adult and work with them to ensure that the right actions are taken.

“We have invested in a dedicated adult safeguarding service which manages the adult safeguarding concerns we receive, and we are part of the Warwickshire Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), ensuring we can quickly share and receive information where other agencies such as police, the NHS and children’s services are involved. This helps us to make the right decision at an early stage, and ensure adults have access to the right response at the right time.”

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