An increase in the abuse of vulnerable people in their homes during COVID-19 and the role we all play in protecting others is being highlighted by B&NES Council during Stop Adult Abuse week.
The five safeguarding boards across the Avon & Somerset area are coming together during the week-long campaign, which this year has the theme of ‘Looking after your community’.
During restrictions imposed for social distancing, there has been an increase in abuse of vulnerable people in their homes, through cuckooing.
This can involve strangers taking over a vulnerable person’s home and using it as a base for illegal activity such as drug dealing, or friends and family members moving in before using the person’s food and money for themselves.
Stop Adult Abuse Week is a local initiative that started in 2014 when local Safeguarding Adult Board Communications Groups in the South West joined together to focus attention on safeguarding.
It encourages everyone to be alert in helping to prevent adult abuse, by knowing how to spot the signs and get help.
Councillor Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services, Safeguarding and Public Health, said: “Abuse can happen to anyone. It can be financial, physical, psychological or involve neglect.
“Those at greater risk are people who find it harder to protect themselves, such as the elderly or people living with learning disabilities, mental ill-health or severe illness. Children and loved ones of the victim often suffer the effects too.
“It’s especially important this year that we work together to support our neighbours during the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath.
“It’s everybody’s duty to look after others and report abuse when we see it, so anyone who has concerns about someone in their community should report it to us or call 999 in an emergency.”
Find out how to report abuse at https://www.safeguarding-bathnes.org.uk/adults/local-safeguarding-adults-board.