Abuse of vulnerable people up by 20pc

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There has been a 20% rise in the number of reports of abuse or neglect of vulnerable or elderly people, figures show.

There were 176,000 safeguarding alerts reported in 2012/13 by 132 councils, finalised data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre reveals.

Similar figures were released last September. The figures represent a final update. The allegations cover a range of scenarios, such as the neglect of people’s health and well-being, physical or mental abuse and the misuse of people’s money.

A vulnerable adult is defined as somebody whose illness, age or disability means they are unable take care of themselves or unable to protect themselves from significant harm or exploitation.

For the 119 councils across England who submitted data in both 2011/12 and 2012/13, the HSCIC found a 20% rise in reports (27,000 more alerts).

Overall, councils referred 109,000 reports to their local safeguarding team for investigation. Some 61% of referrals were for women and 62% were for adults aged 65 or over.

Half of the referrals (51%) were for people with a physical disability.

The most common types of abuse reported were physical (28%) and neglect (27%). Some 39% of abuse occurred in the home while 36% was recorded in care homes.

A social care worker was listed as the person most commonly abusing the adult (32% of alleged abusers) followed by partner or family member (23%).