Nearly a quarter of referrals to adult safeguarding in 2010 11 concerned people with learning disabilities

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The information centre for health and social care regularly publishes statistics based on returns from authorities in England. This report shows a provisional analysis from returns by Council with Adult Social Services Responsibilities (CASSRs) and is based on information on alerts and referrals to adult social care safeguarding teams derived from the Abuse of Vulnerable Adults (AVA) data collection for the period 2010-11.

Alerts to Adult safeguarding

151 of the 152 CASSRs submitted data and these data cover adults aged 18 and over. The Information Centre point however that the report is being made available to the public as Experimental Statistics – defined as new official statistics undergoing evaluation.

• Information on 94,200 alerts was submitted by 101 CASSRs. The authors point out that not all councils recognise alerts as part of their safeguarding process.
• More alerts were received about females (61%) than males (39%);

Referrals to Adult Safeguarding

  • 96,000 referrals to adult safeguarding in 2010-11.
  • 49% were related to vulnerable adults who were classified as client type ‘physical disability’
  • 23% were for adults classified as client type ‘mental health’
  • 21% were for adults classified as client type ‘learning disability’
  • social care staff (44%) or health care staff (21%) were the main sources of referral.
  • Physical abuse was  reported in 36% of referrals; neglect (28 %) and financial abuse (24 %).
  • 19% of referrals were related to emotional or psychological abuse
  • Sexual, institutional and discriminatory abuse made up the remaining 12%
    (some referrals involved multiple types of abuse so figures sum to greater than 100%) .
  • In 29% of referrals, social care or health care staff were recorded as the alleged perpetrator and a family member was recorded in 25% of allegations

Main Findings on Completed Referrals

  • In 31% of cases, the investigation outcome for the vulnerable adult was No Further Action
  • The most common investigation outcome for the perpetrator or service was No Further Action (34%),

Abuse of Vulnerable Adults in England 2010-11 Experimental Statistics Provisional Report, NHS Information centre, 2011

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John Northfield

After qualifying as a social worker, John worked in community learning disability teams before getting involved in a number of long-stay hospital closure programmes, working to develop individual plans for people moving into their own homes. He worked for BILD, helping to develop the Quality Network and was editorial lead for the NHS electronic library learning disabilities specialist collection. This led him to found the Learning Disabilities Elf site with Andre Tomlin as a way of making the evidence accessible to practitioners in health and social care. Most recently he has worked as part of Mencap's national quality team and also been involved in a number of national website developments, including the General Medical Council's learning disabilities site.

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