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February 22, 2012

Figures Expose Shocking Level of Elderly Abuse Across Wales (UK)

 Figures expose shocking level of elderly abuse across Wales
by Helen Turner, WalesOnline
Jan 23 2012

The scale of abuse against elderly people across Wales has been revealed in figures showing more than 1,000 complaints against carers have been upheld in the last three years.
Despite the number of proven allegations of financial, physical and emotional abuse, only a small percentage of the carers involved have lost their jobs.
In several Welsh councils, fewer than 10% of upheld complaints led to the carers involved losing their jobs. Neglect was the most frequent complaint made by vulnerable adult service users across Wales – with 240 incidents reported to Cardiff council alone since 2008-09.
There were also allegations of sexual abuse at three Welsh councils, Wrexham, Rhondda Cynon Taf and the Vale of Glamorgan.
At Denbighshire council, one carer was reported for shouting at a service user, while another was overheard to have said: “Now you’re fed and watered, I’m off.”
The British Association of Social Workers said it was likely that the true level of abuse was far worse as most incidents are never reported.
Spokeswoman Ruth Cartwright called for more comprehensive regulation of care workers. She said: “Society puts a greater focus on children than of vulnerable adults, but both deserve protection from abuse and exploitation.
“Adults who have been abused or mistreated are often least likely to be able to speak out, so it is likely that there are many incidents of unreported abuse.
“Let us not forget that vulnerable adults are also sometimes mistreated by members of their own family, who are perceived to be caring for them.”
She said that domiciliary care workers were currently not required to register with the Welsh Care Council and called on the Welsh Government to address this.
She said: “We want to see regulation of those who work directly with people in need of care and support in their own homes, where there is much scope to abuse the trust that is placed in them.”
Ms Cartwright also called for a register of complaints that would ensure rigorous sanctions were taken against offenders.
She said: “We are concerned that so few complaints, where upheld, have resulted in dismissal. The majority of workers are honest and thoroughly dedicated people who do a hard job with little pay or recognition.
“However, some people are just not suitable for this type of work, and we hope that employers are committed to weeding out these few people who take advantage.
“There needs to be rigorous selection procedures for these staff, and they must receive proper training about the often complex needs of the vulnerable people they are supporting.”

 Abridged
SOURCE:      WalesOnline
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