Safeguarding adults is everybody’s business
RECENT national publicity highlighting the abuse of vulnerable adults has prompted Southend-on-Sea Borough Council to remind residents that help for victims is just a phone call away.
Undercover footage filmed by reporters from the BBC’s Panorama programme has led to major investigations at two care homes in the last year.
The appalling abuse of adults with learning difficulties by staff at the Winterbourne View care home in Bristol in June last year caused a national furore.
And earlier this month Panorama unearthed further evidence of abuse when it filmed an elderly Alzheimer’s sufferer being mistreated by carers at the Ash Court Care Centre in Camden.
Such national attention on the abuse of vulnerable adults is rare, but every year local authorities across the country receive a significant number of social care referrals.
However, help is very close at hand whether you are the victim of such abuse, a friend or relative of someone who is being mistreated or just a concerned member of the community.
The AskSAL helpline - 08452 66 66 63 – was launched in June 2009 to enable people with concerns about vulnerable adults – or the victims themselves – to raise the alarm.
Based along the same lines as Childline it was the first dedicated helpline in the country for anyone concerned about ‘at risk’ adults.
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Corporate Director for Adult & Community Services, Simon Leftley, said: “The abuse of vulnerable adults is fresh in everyone’s minds at the moment. The most recent Panorama investigation earlier this month reminded everyone that it is not just young children who are abused by carers or relatives.
“The AskSAL helpline is vital because it provides access to skilled help for people who are worried about – or are themselves the victims of – adult abuse.
“Many people do not report the abuse they suffer due to fear, shame and embarrassment, but anyone calling the helpline will be dealt with by skilled operators who will handle their calls with sensitivity. If a referral to another agency is required this will be done without the caller having to either re-dial or re-tell their story.
“I would urge anyone with concerns about a vulnerable adult to contact the AskSAL helpline immediately. There is no need for anyone to suffer in silence.”
The AskSAL helpline is an initiative set up by the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Safeguarding Adults Boards. For more information about the helpline visit www.asksal.org.uk
Remember – if you have concerns about a vulnerable adult, or you yourself are being abused, do not hesitate. Call today. 08452 66 66 63.
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