National Adult Support and Protection Day

Published on Sunday 20 February 2022

Today is National Adult Support and Protection Day.  Angus Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) is supporting this important awareness raising day which is an annual reminder to act on any concerns about vulnerable adults who you suspect may be at risk from harm, neglect or exploitation.

Gail Smith, Chief Officer of Angus HSCP, said: “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen a significant increase in adult protection referrals. Services 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. We are proud of the fact that Angus is a place that actively cares and we are fortunate to have so many people looking out for each other within our communities and by ‘saying something’, many vulnerable people have been protected.”

Ewen West, Independent Chairperson of the Angus Adult Protection Committee, said: “Adults can be at risk of all types of harm, including neglect and physical abuse, sexual abuse and financial exploitation. National Adult Support and Protection Day is a timely reminder to us all of our duty to say something if we are concerned. We want people in Angus to know that they can report their concerns to us and we will take them seriously.”

Seen something – Say something. If you are concerned that an adult is at risk of harm it’s right to have it checked out, or if you feel unsafe and need support call 03452 777778 or report an adult protection concern online. What you know may be an important part of the jigsaw which will help us understand if a person needs support or protection.

If you or an adult you know are at immediate risk of harm contact the police on 999.

The pandemic has made vulnerable adults less visible. As part of National Adult Support and Protection Day 2022, people are being asked to keep an eye out for things that don’t look right, and to report concerns as an adult protection referral.

We can all think of someone we know who we worry about sometimes; 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.

Early indications from data looking at the impact of Covid-19 suggest that across Scotland, there were around 750 Adult Support and Protection referrals per week, on average; this average increases to around 780 per week when using data from the past six months. Although there is volatility in the figures, there has been a general upward trend in Adult Support and Protection referrals since May 2020.

For every seven referrals, one went on to an Adult Protection Investigation. For those that did not go on to investigation, other steps were frequently taken to ensure that the adult was supported and protected.

In general, physical harm and financial harm are the most common forms of harm perpetrated against adults at risk, but adult protection covers a wide range of harm. This includes everything from sexual harm to psychological harm; self-harm to  neglect or self-neglect – when people struggle to take care of themselves.

John Paterson, Chair of the National Adult Support and Protection Scotland Independent Conveners’ Group, said: “Covid-19 has had an impact on many people’s well-being and mental health; some people were 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.”

Making an adult protection referral can be a vital puzzle-piece of the information jigsaw to ensure that someone receives the attention and support they need. An adult protection referral can also be a good sign that someone needs support to stay safe, and can stop things getting worse. We can only act on concerns that are known about, so if something doesn’t seem right, you can help by making an adult protection referral.

Mr Paterson said: “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.”

If you are concerned that an adult is at risk of harm it’s right to have it checked out, or if you feel unsafe and need support call 03452 777778 or report an adult protection concern online.