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Report on Abuse of Vulnerable Adults

A provisional report on Abuse of Vulnerable Adults shows the extent of allegations in care and domestic homes.

A provisional report on Abuse of Vulnerable Adults shows the extent of allegations in care and domestic homes.

Of the 96,000 reported cases in England referred to councils' Adult Safeguarding teams, 94,500 had key information recorded. Of those 94,500; 32,700 (35 per cent) related to alleged abuse taking place in a care home. while 39,300 (42 per cent) related to alleged abuse in the vulnerable adult's own home.

Today's report presents provisional findings from a new data collection on Abuse of Vulnerable Adults; based on submissions to the NHS IC by 151 of the 152 councils in England with adult social services responsibilities (CASSRs). Findings are provisional as CASSRs have the final of three cut-off dates left to respond to any further issues around data quality. There is no data for one CASSR3, while others have data gaps in their submissions.

A final report with more detailed findings will be produced in March 2012. Today's report suggests that of the 94,500 cases referred for investigation by CASSRs to Adult Safeguarding teams:

Vulnerable adults

* Just under half of the referrals reported (49 per cent, or 46,400) were about adults with a physical disability.

* 23 per cent (21,900) were about adults with a mental health issue.

* 21 per cent (19,400) were about adults with a learning disability.

* Seven per cent of referrals (6,800) were about substance misusers or other vulnerable adults.

Councils recorded 13,900 repeat referrals; where two or more separate referrals about the same vulnerable adult were received within the year. Social care staff were the main source of referrals (44 per cent, or 42,100).

Alleged types of abuse

* 36 per cent (34,300) involved physical abuse.

* 28 per cent (26,600) involved neglect.

* 24 per cent (23,200) involved financial abuse.

* 19 per cent (18,400) involved emotional or psychological abuse.

* 12 per cent (11,600) involved sexual, discriminatory or institutional abuse.

These sum to more than 100 per cent because some of the referrals involved multiple types of abuse.

Alleged perpetrators

* 29 per cent of cases (27,500) involved a social care or health care worker as the alleged perpetrator.

* 25 per cent (23,700) involved a family member (including the vulnerable adult's partner).

* 13 per cent (12,300) involved another vulnerable adult.

* 12 per cent (11,000) involved a neighbour, friend, stranger, volunteer or other professional.

Some referrals may have involved more than one alleged perpetrator.

75,000 referrals were completed within the 2010/11 collection period and of the 73,600 that could be categorised:

* 32 per cent of cases (23,300) were substantiated.

* 31 per cent (23,100) were not substantiated.

* Nine per cent (6,900) were partially substantiated.

* 28 per cent (20,400) were not determined or inconclusive.

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: “Although this report is provisional, it shines a light on what is clearly an emotive subject involving some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“This information is vital for councils, social care and health professionals to consider their own figures and examine the reasons behind them. The collection also allows people to see how they relate to the national and regional picture. For all of these reasons, it is vital that all councils submit and validate their data to what is now a mandatory return to ensure that the overall picture is full and accurate.”

November 2011