Safeguard adults too

The paltry number of reported cases of adult abuse even to reach the courts, let alone result in a successful prosecution, is an indictment of the current system. Six years on from the publication of the No Secrets guidance, a new report from the charity Action on Elder Abuse makes it clear that, despite pockets of good practice, much remains to be done in this area.

So the government’s announcement that it is considering putting the arrangements for safeguarding adults on the same footing as those for safeguarding children is a welcome acknowledgement that all is not as it should be. The one note of caution is that adults must not be made to feel that they are being treated like children. Many people have a problem with the tag vulnerable”, though the new report rejects a suggestion to replace it on the grounds that it would cause confusion.

Possibly at first, but surely people would soon get used to talking about safeguarding adults instead of protecting the vulnerable. As always, there is a fine line between protecting someone from danger and allowing them the freedom – with all its attendant risks – to live their lives to the full.

● See Byrne considers giving legal status to protection of vulnerable adults

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