Rise in reports of vulnerable adult abuse in Kent

There has been a rise in the number of allegations of vulnerable adults being neglected or abused in Kent.

Health and Social Care Information Centre figures show a 22% rise, with 2,865 reported cases in the last financial year, compared to 2,341 the year before.

But in Medway the number dropped by 24% from 415 to 315.

Age UK say there are more cases of elderly people being targeted for their money because of the economic climate.

The figures cover a range of allegations, from physical abuse by social workers or family members to neglect.

Of all the reported cases in Kent and Medway, 705 were reports of financial abuse.

'Treated with dignity'

Sandra Springett, from Age UK in Tunbridge Wells, said: "We have noticed recently the instances of people being abused in the community especially around financial abuse.

"I guess we are in a recession and some people will take whatever opportunity presents themselves.

"Sadly it is older people that suffer.

"Increasingly as well, with people with dementia and short term memory loss, they are such easy targets for those who want to befriend them and take advantage of them."

Of all the allegations in Kent and Medway, 1,220 were found to be substantiated.

Kent County Council has said the increase in allegations is because the public have more knowledge about being able to report them.

Councillor Graham Gibbons, member for adult social services, said: "People are far more aware of the concerns about adult safeguarding, therefore people are more prepared to report it.

A Medway Council spokesperson said: "We are confident that our criteria for referrals ensures that all concerns and alerts reported to us are taken seriously and properly investigated."

The number of allegations of abuse in an elderly person's own homes was found to be 1,160 with 1,265 in care homes.

The Care Quality Commission has already announced plans for improved inspections.

In a statement, the Department of Health said: "People deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and to receive good care whether at home, in hospital or in care homes."

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