Level of adult abuse complaints is worrying
Figures released indicating that 8000 cases of adult abuse were reported to the HSE last year are worrying but certainly not surprising.
The figures were published as the National Safeguarding Committee commences a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of what constitutes abuse or neglect of vulnerable adults.
Interestingly, the most common forms of abuse of younger adults included physical, psychological and sexual abuse while older people were more likely to suffer psychological, physical and financial abuse.
This campaign aims to highlight what actually constitutes various types of abuse and also, the need for a greater legal framework to be put in place to protect those who are vulnerable.
Those at risk include people with dementia, mental health problems, physical and intellectual disabilities.
Many of those who fall victim to such abuse are not in a position to advocate for themselves and this is reflected in the figures, as just 2 per cent self-reported their cases, and four per cent of cases were reported by relatives.
The amount of cases reported was close to 8,000 but in reality, there are probably many more which are not. Also, in a lot of cases, victims are unaware that they are being abused or taken advantage of.
The case of financial abuse of older people is a perfect example. A person living with dementia is not in a position to protect their own interests and so are extremely vulnerable in terms of their finances.
Calls have been made for greater transparency and tracking of accounts to ensure greater protection for the person who is in the care of another but we have a long way to go in terms of a solid and structured system which will truly offer adequate protection.
The National Safeguarding Committee has also highlighted that using threats to get the person in care to cooperate is a common form of abuse, which both parties often don't even realise is not acceptable.
While all these recommendations are welcome the question must be asked - will adequate funding be invested to ensure that this system will work?
Will the general public see the significance of what this committee is trying to achieve and realise the risks that some vulnerable adults face?