The Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales has revealed that allegations of abuse against vulnerable adults received by councils climbed by 25% last year.
In its annual monitoring report on Welsh local authorities’ performance in adult protection yesterday, it said the number of adult protection referrals had risen from 3,182 to 4,244 from 2005-6 to 2006-07.
The inspectorate suggested this was more likely to reflect increased awareness of adult protection, rather than more cases of abuse.
Overall, the referrals led to 71 prosecutions, with 82 members of staff dismissed, 261 subject to other disciplinary proceedings and 20 paid social care workers being referred for inclusion on the Protection of Vulnerable Adults list for England and Wales. Seven per cent of service users refused to take action against the person against whom abuse had been alleged.
Councils reported that increased numbers of people became eligible for social care services because of the risk to their independence or risk of abuse or exploitation.
The report shows that the largest number of referrals concerned older people, followed by those with learning disabilities. Two-thirds of the alleged victims lived in their own homes with relatives or in supported accommodation, while 29% lived in residential or nursing care homes.
Third of allegations concern relatives
A third of the allegations were made against relatives – the same proportion as in 2005-6 – while 29% were made against staff, down from 32% in 2005-6.
Physical abuse was the most common form, accounting for 28% of cases, followed by financial abuse (23%), though prevalence varied by setting. For instance, financial abuse was the most frequent form in domiciliary care settings, accounting for 44% of cases.