Concern raised over abuse of vulnerable adults in Doncaster

Chair of the Doncaster Safeguarding Adults Board Roger Thompson
Chair of the Doncaster Safeguarding Adults Board Roger Thompson

More vulnerable adults could face abuse as agencies in Doncaster face more spending cuts, warns a victim’s relative.

The concerns come as figures reveal a rise in the proportion of allegations in the borough which are investigated and turn out to be true.

Figures presented to Doncaster Council reveal 92 substantiated cases in 2014-15.

A total of 311 cases were concluded after being referred to the authorities, the annual report of Doncaster Safeguarding Adults Board reveals.

Another 41 were partially substantiated and 28 were inconclusive.

The number of substantiated case, where all the allegations of abuse were upheld, was 29.6 per cent of the concluded cases, an increase of two per cent on last year.

The report also reveals the largest proportion of the complaints were about victims in care home settings – at 93. Another 15 referrals were people who were in their own home. Two were in hospital.

Adrian Milnes’ step-son Richie Rowe was one of a number of victims of abuse at the Solar Centre in Doncaster. Two people were jailed after being found guilty of a total of 25 counts of ill-treating patients at the centre, near Catherine’s Hospital, in Balby.

Mr Milnes, of Intake, said people should keep a very close eye on their vulnerable loved ones, but said he did not trust statistics on abuse, and suspected more people may be abused than the figures recorded.

He said: “My concern is that abuse is only going to increase if cuts in funding put more pressure onto the system.”

In the report Roger Thompson, the independent chairman of the Doncaster Safeguarding Adults Board, said he thought the board had made good progress in the context of changes such as the new Care Act, which came into effect on April, and budget pressures resulting in the tightening of resources available to all agencies to provide services to vulnerable adults.

But he wrote: “We would all like to think that people who are in care homes, hospitals or their own homes are safe. Sadly, we know that this is not always the case. Safe care needs good staff, well supported by good systems and

effective management to ensure that good practice is always the norm.”

Mr Thompson, later said: “We are improving awareness of adult safeguarding across Doncaster as shown by the increasing number of alerts and the reduction in the number of referrals. It is also encouraging that the number of allegations of abuse upheld has increased as this offers assurance that cases are being assessed appropriately and action is being taken.

“We take the safeguarding of adults very seriously and through our multi-agency approach we are committed to preventing incidents taking place but when they do occur we act accordingly.”

The number of alerts continues to increase year on year since 2009/10 and has risen from 809 in 2013/14 to 1,291 in 2014/15, an increase of 59.5 per cent. The number of referrals referred to the authorities for investigation from those alerts has fallen from 427 last year to 399. Only 311 of those referrals were concluded.

Types of abuse investigated in the concluded reports were mostly allegations of neglect, with 59. The other abuse reports included physical abuse, with 25 allegations, emotional, 19, and institutional, 17.