2% of safeguarding fears from alleged abuse victims

Just 2% of all safeguarding concerns are made by those who may have been abused, it has emerged.

Safeguarding Ireland chairwoman Patricia Rickard Clarke said that almost all of the cases reported to the HSE are made by healthcare professionals and families.

“Those most at risk are vulnerable adults such as people who are living with dementia, a brain injury, a mental illness, a learning disability, a physical disability, or a frail or older person,” said Ms Rickard Clarke.

“Though people may live with reduced capacity, we would encourage them to report their concerns where possible.”

Safeguarding Ireland was established in December 2015 in response to a number of high-profile adult safeguarding issues. 

It was formed with the support of the HSE and Government to promote the rights of vulnerable people and safeguard them from abuse via policy and legislative change.

The HSE National Safeguarding Office is a member of Safeguarding Ireland and works with nine safeguarding and protection teams across the country that deal with people’s protection concerns.

The team also provides support and guidance to services working with vulnerable people on the prevention and management of abuse concerns.

Of the 10,120 alleged abuse concerns reported to the office in 2017, physical abuse (37%) was the most common, following by psychological (29%), financial abuse (11%), and sexual abuse (9%).

National Safeguarding Office general manager Tim Hanly said they wanted to raise public awareness of what abuse was and to know that people who may be suffering abuse could contact the service directly

Its website includes contact details for the nine regional HSE safeguarding and protection teams.

Ms Rickard Clarke urged adults to think ahead to safeguard their future.

“In particular, I would encourage adults to put in place an enduring power of attorney, which give financial and legal decision making responsibility to a chosen and most trusted person,” she said.

“Other important decisions include notifying of healthcare preferences, such as place of care and advance healthcare directives.”

Links to helpful ‘Think Ahead’ materials are in the resources section of the National Safeguarding Office website.

Research published in October last year found that less than half of Irish adults do not have any of the recommended “planning for the future measures” in place.


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