Yesterday, 20th February was National Adult Support and Protection Day . The Covid 19 pandemic has left many people feeling anxious, lonely and not knowing who to turn to.
Across Scotland around 750 referrals are made a week to Adult Support and Protection teams and this has risen to approximately 780 in the last six months. One in seven referrals leads to an Adult Protection Investigation, but in cases where a full investigation is not needed, a referral can still mean other steps can be taken to ensure the person is supported and protected.
Members of the public are being asked to be aware that especially more vulnerable adults in their community might be in need of support.
John Paterson, Chair of the National Adult Support and Protection Scotland Independent Convenors’ Group said:
“COVID-19 has had an impact on many people’s well-being and mental health and left some people more isolated than ever before. As we are emerging from the pandemic, we are mindful of the crucial role our communities play in safeguarding.
“Just like with the protection of children, Adult Support and Protection is important every day of the year and we want to ensure that the right supports are in place to protect people who are unable to keep themselves, their money, or their belongings safe.”
“An adult protection referral can also be a good sign that someone needs a bit of support to stay safe, and can stop things getting worse. If something doesn’t seem right, you can help by making an adult protection referral. We can only act on concerns that are known about.
“Adult protection is everyone’s business and every member of our community is due our consideration and protection. You might provide the vital piece in the jigsaw that helps keep someone safe. If you see something, say something.”
Link: Act Against Harm
Lynda Bradford, Head of Health and Community Care for OHAC (Orkney Health and Care), added:
“Orkney is a wonderful place to live but it’s important local people understand we do have adults in our community who are vulnerable to exploitation, neglect and isolation.
“Our information tells us that In Orkney each week we currently receive, on average, 1-2 adult support and protection referrals. We are able to look into these cases and take steps to keep people safe and protected.
“But we have concerns about the people we are not made aware of – in particular those who have become more isolated or less visible due to the pandemic.
“We cannot take steps to protect people, if we don’t know about them.
“So our plea is, if you are worried about someone or if something just doesn’t seem right, please tell services about your concerns.
“Think of it as an ‘information jigsaw’: what you know may be an important part of the jigsaw which will help us understand if a person needs support or protection.
“Services including Social Work, Health, Police and voluntary agencies have been working hard to support and protect adults at risk of harm – but it is up to all of us to play our part.”
Contact details for where to make an adult protection referral in your local area can be found here: Home – Act Against Harm.
Tam Baillie, Chair of the Orkney Public Protection Committee said:
“We know that the pandemic has impacted on everyone, especially those who need extra support – adding to the sense of isolation, stress and pressures on mental health and wellbeing.
“Adult Support and Protection is there to respond to those who may not be able to keep themselves, their money or their belongings safe.”
Kevin Stewart, Minister for Social Care in the Scottish Government said:
“We can all think of someone we know who we worry about sometimes; such as a friend, family member or neighbour. During the pandemic, social workers have been going above and beyond to make sure that reports of concerns about adults who are vulnerable have been followed up.
“We know adults are most commonly at risk of physical harm or financial exploitation, but adult protection can include everything from sexual harm to psychological harm; self-harm to neglect or self-neglect – when people struggle to take care of themselves.
“Making an adult protection referral can help ensure serious situations are investigated, or can just trigger a bit of attention and help for those who need it.”