‘No excuse for abuse of elderly’

Inviting the public to come along and find out more about adult abuse are, from left, Yvonne Cassidy, Apex Housing Association; Marina Kelly, Red Cross; Caroline Ferguson, Action Mental Health New Horizons; Deborah Hanlon, Western Trust; Paul Rafferty, Head of AHP Services, Western Trust; Caroline Sweeny, Western Trust and Cathy Magowan, Carers Coordinator, Western Trust.
Inviting the public to come along and find out more about adult abuse are, from left, Yvonne Cassidy, Apex Housing Association; Marina Kelly, Red Cross; Caroline Ferguson, Action Mental Health New Horizons; Deborah Hanlon, Western Trust; Paul Rafferty, Head of AHP Services, Western Trust; Caroline Sweeny, Western Trust and Cathy Magowan, Carers Coordinator, Western Trust.
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Abuse against vulnerable adults will be the focus of public events being held across the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) area to mark June 15, 2012 – World Elder Abuse Day.

The Western Trust and those partner organisations which make up the Western Local Adult Safeguarding Partnership (LASP) want the public to show their support and attend their local event to help highlight vulnerable adult abuse.

Locally, an event which will take place at the Waterfoot Hotel on June 15 between 10am and 12 noon will include key speakers and interactive information stands.

The Western LASP is keen to raise awareness of the abusive situations faced by older people, people with mental health issues, learning disability, physical disabilities and those with addictions. It is hoped the information provided at these events will raise awareness of issues relating to all types of abuse of vulnerable people, help people to recognise abuse and give advice on what to do if they suspect someone is being abused.

“Raising awareness about the potential for abuse to happen is the first positive step in preventing it,” said Aidan Gordon, Assistant Director for Adult Safeguarding Services for the Western Trust, “LASP is dedicated to safeguarding all vulnerable people from abuse and encourages staff, as well as service users, carers and the general public to be vigilant and report any suspicions they may have.”

He added: “Abuse or neglect can happen to any adult. In fact, contrary to commonly held beliefs, most adults who experience abuse or neglect are mentally competent, are not dependent on other people, and do not require constant care. Abuse, in any form, is totally unacceptable. I think it is important to also say that abuse is not just a health issue. It is also a societal issue. It therefore requires us, as a society, to recognise the abuse of adults in all its forms and to report it if we come across it.”

Between January 2011 to December 2011, 242 adult safeguarding referrals were received by the Western trust Trust. Also, the number of incidents reported to the Trust continues to rise.

Members of the public are asked to register for the events by contacting: Julie Woods at the Erne Hospital. Tel: 028 66382060; e-mail: Julie.woods@westhealth.n-i.nhs.uk.