Tuesday 20 August 2019

Just 3pc of witnesses to abuse report it, poll finds

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Allison Bray

One in 10 people have witnessed the abuse of a frail, elderly or otherwise vulnerable person - yet just a fraction have reported it to the authorities, a new poll reveals.

The Red C poll, commissioned by not-for-profit body Safeguarding Ireland, revealed 10pc of Irish adults have witnessed vulnerable adults being abused over the past year. Yet only 3pc of witnesses reported the abuse to gardaí or other State authorities.

While almost half of respondents (47pc) discussed the incident with the victim, and 40pc discussed it with "a trusted person", 12pc did nothing after witnessing the abuse.

Safeguarding Ireland chairperson Patricia Rickard Clarke said: "The fact that 10pc of Irish adults reported having witnessed abuse shows official HSE figures (in excess of 10,000 alleged cases reported annually) are just the tip of the iceberg," she said of verbal, physical, emotional and financial abuse.

"Based on our adult [over 18] population of approximately 3.8 million, this would imply an estimate of potentially 380,000 witnessed cases of adult abuse per annum.

"The message from this research is clear - we need tougher laws to support people to take action and to call out abuse of vulnerable adults," she said. She called on the Government to enact the 2017 Adult Safeguarding Bill.

Irish Independent

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