Want to watch this video? Sign up for the course here. Or enter your email below to watch one free video.

Unlock This Video Now for FREE

This video is normally available to paying customers.
You may unlock this video for FREE. Enter your email address for instant access AND to receive ongoing updates and special discounts related to this topic.

To date there is very little collated information about how much abuse is going on throughout the country, but here are some figures collated by Action on Elder abuse in the year 2000.

  • 66% of abuse occurred in the victim’s own home
  • 10% was in residential care homes
  • 11% in nursing homes
  • 5% occurred in hospitals
  • 4.2% in sheltered housing.

Although the majority of victims are older people calls were also received from all other client groups, especially people with learning disabilities.

Most of the calls related to male victims of abuse between the ages of 79 to 90 years of age, and female victims between the ages of 70 to 84 years of age.

This pattern shows that the older people are the more abuse occurs.
29% of people suffering abuse were men and 71% were women.

The figures relating to abusers are much closer to 55% of abusers being men and 45% being women, these figures surprise many people who assume that abusers are usually male.  However, in cases of abuse relating to children, it is believed that 90% of the abusers are male.

Now looking at the types of abuse:

  • 55% related to physical abuse
  • 28% to financial abuse
  • 22% psychological abuse
  • 17% was neglect
  • 5.5% was sexual abuse.

Discrimination has been the additional category of abuse to be included in the new procedures and as yet very few figures have been gathered relating to this type of abuse.For every case of sexual abuse ten cases of physical abuse came to light

One question is why are incidents of abuse not reported?
There has been a steady increase in reporting incidents of abuse, however, it is probably still only the tip of the iceberg.  Why is that where incidences of abuse and bad practice are still occurring why don’t people report it and what are the barriers to reporting abuse?

Whistleblowing is good practice and it is a duty of care to draw attention to bad or poor practices in any workplace, this includes practice that may be abusive. Staff who work with vulnerable adults have an individual responsibility to raise concerns with someone who has the responsibility to take action, in some cases it may be necessary to go outside the organisation.

All organisations have the responsibility to promote a culture where good practice is valued and one where whistleblowing is encouraged.
Confidentiality – whilst every effort is made to ensure that confidentiality is preserved this will be governed by what may be an over-riding need to protect a person who is or may be at risk of abuse.

All those working with vulnerable adults must be aware that it is not possible to keep information about suspected or actual abuse confidential.

The principles of confidentiality and consent are a central theme running through Safeguarding Adults 2005 procedures, good practice states that all confidential information about a service user should be rigorously safeguarded and although normally information about a service user can only be shared with their consent, in the case of abuse, consent from the service user can be overridden.

If a service user you suspect is being abused or knows of abuse taking place wants to confide in you, you must tell them that you will not be able to keep the information to yourself.

You will need to pass the information onto your manager unless they are the abuser in which case the information needs to be passed onto the local social services or in the case of a residential or nursing home to the social services or Health Service Inspectorate.
When you have explained to them the bounds of confidentiality they may refuse to give you any more information, in this case, you would need to report it to your line manager, the service user may be prepared to share more information at a later date but in the meantime staff need to be alerted to monitor exactly what is happening.

Information you receive about abuse of a vulnerable adult should only be shared on a need to know basis, only staff such as your line manager should be informed.

Service users should be told why the information relating to them has been shared and with whom, they also have a right to see information written about them. Any information given to you by a service user should only be used for the purpose for which is was given.  If it is a criminal matter then the police would be involved.