Cumbria Constabulary have launched an awareness campaign highlight the devastating impacts abuse on elderly people can have.
Developed by the Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit (PPU), the campaign highlights crimes targeting older adults, encourage reporting of offences – and signposts people to relevant free local support services. Information on dementia and support for those experiencing abuse at the hands of a loved one will also be provided.
Anyone can suffer abuse or neglect and it is never acceptable. However, vulnerable, older adults can be targeted. Those who are undertaking the abuse can sometimes be relatives or close to the victim.
While crimes against the elderly are not systemic in Cumbria, in the last year the Constabulary have investigated crimes targeting the elderly including assault, neglect, high value financial abuse and rape.
That is why this campaign focuses on awareness raising and asking the public to remain vigilant and to report any concerns to police immediately.
The signs of elderly abuse are not always obvious, and many older adults have reported being reluctant to speak up about their abuse for fear of repercussion or not wanting to cause any issues. Some may also lack capacity to raise an alarm due to ill health.
Abuse can include physical, sexual, domestic, or psychological abuse; fraud or theft, coercive control, neglect or acts of omission, discrimination, modern slavery, and cuckooing.
Acting Detective Inspector Matt Belshaw, Public Protection Unit Lead for Vulnerable Adults, said:
“The abuse of elderly people can have devastating impacts on them, their families, and the wider community. Everyone has the right to live their life freely and without fear.
“The abuse and neglect of elderly people occurs more frequently than is reported. Preventing and reporting cases of elderly abuse should be the responsibility of us all. Please, speak up if you have concerns. Your information could stop someone who is taking advantage of a vulnerable older person.
“Please look out for elderly relatives and members of your community. If something doesn’t appear or feel right, please do not hesitate to contact us.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall comments: “Any form of abuse is unacceptable.
“Nobody deserves to be neglected or exploited and elder abuse will not be tolerated here in Cumbria. Being abusive to a vulnerable older person has to be one of the most abhorrent and disrespectful things to do, it’s utterly unacceptable.
“Raising awareness on how to spot the signs of elder abuse is critical, as this form of abuse is often not visible, goes unseen, or even ignored and not reported.
“It’s vital that we look out for vulnerable people in our communities, and I urge people to be kind and compassionate neighbours, look out for one another and where possible, visit any older residents from time to time, to check everything is ok.
“We all have a role to play in helping to prevent elder abuse. I urge anyone that may know or suspect someone is being mistreated, to inform the police.”
The Public Protection Unit (PPU) work alongside multi-agency partners to protect adults from abuse and neglect. They are also members of boards, such as the Adult Safeguarding Board. Board meetings are held regularly, and specific cases are discussed with partner agencies to ensure appropriate support is provided to protect victims from any further abuse or neglect.
The police encourage reporting incidents of abuse so they can be investigated, and victims can be provided with the appropriate support. If a person does not wish to report what has happened to police, they can still access many of the support services available in Cumbria. These include:
Action on Elder Abuse provides confidential help and advice and work to protect vulnerable older adults from abuse.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. Their website provides details of local care providers and results of their inspections.
Mencap support people with a learning disability and their families. More information can be found on their website.
Neighbourhood Watch for safer and stronger communities.
Scope provides support for disabled people and advice and information on disabilities. Their website provides details of how to contact them.
If you are worried that you or someone you know is suffering adult or elder abuse or neglect, please contact us immediately. We will investigate and ensure the person gets the best course of action to meet their needs.
This can be done by:
- Reporting online at www.cumbria.police.uk/report-it
- Calling 101
- Visiting your local police station
Remember to always call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger.
If you have a hearing or speech impairment you can contact via the following:
- Non-emergency: textphone service 18001 101.
- Emergency: Register for the 999 Emergency SMS Service that allows you to text the police in an emergency from your mobile phone.
This service works throughout the UK on all mobile networks, but it cannot be used from abroad.
You must be registered to use this SMS service. Simply text ‘register’ from your mobile phone to 999 and follow the instructions. For more information visit www.emergencysms.org.uk
Or contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.