A coalition of more than 700 organisations and individuals was officially launched yesterday as part of a campaign to urge the government put adult protection in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on a statutory basis.
The Safeguarding Adults Alliance was formally established following a conference held on 12 January. In addition to the core member organisations, which include Action on Elder Abuse, Mencap and the Alzheimer’s Society, the coalition consists of 53 associated member organisations and 621 individuals. A number of statutory organisations have also lent their support.
The alliance is a response to the Department of Health’s consultation on revising its No secrets guidance on safeguarding vulnerable adults, which was published in 2000.
Warning over lack of legislation
Campaigners have long warned that the lack of the legislative base has led to a lack of engagement with adult protection by key agencies and inadequate funding, while hampering investigations of abuse and neglect.
Gary FitzGerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, said that there was a “fair degree of intensity” in the debate leading up to the creation of the alliance. This was particularly over its demand to grant professionals powers to enter people’s homes if they suspected a vulnerable adult was being abused. So far mental health charity Mind has declined to join the campaign over the issue.
FitzGerald also indicated he was concerned that the DH’s consultation was not “focusing sufficiently on some of the key issues”. The consultation closes at the end of this month.
Current systems failing
FitzGerald added: “We collectively acknowledge that the current systems are failing to provide the necessary framework to ensure adequate protection for adults at risk of abuse, and we are committed to achieving a system that both protects the rights of adults to live their lives in the manner of their choosing while simultaneously having access to systems that genuinely provide protection.”