Wales

Abuse or neglect risk for 12,000 adults across Wales

A woman covering her face with a man looking on Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Just over a quarter of the suspected abuse was by a friend or relative of the victim

Almost 12,000 adults are suspected of being at risk of abuse or neglect in Wales, new official figures have shown.

More than 9,000 of the reports in 2016-17 were for over-65s, just under half of whom were still living at home.

Age Cymru said the figures demonstrated the "urgent need to increase the availability of advocacy services".

The Welsh Government said abuse or neglect "of adults with needs for care and support is abhorrent and we will not tolerate such conduct in any form".

The 11,761 reports in the government's 2016-17 figures resulted in 717 police investigations and 2,050 non-criminal investigations.

Rhondda Cynon Taff had 2,000 at-risk adults, more than double the number of the second highest council.

It also had 500 people reported more than once for the same type of abuse or neglect within 12 months. The council with the second most was Swansea with 157.

Rhondda Cynon Taff also has the highest rate of at-risk adults per 10,000 people, 106, compared to neighbouring Vale of Glamorgan which has the lowest with 21.

The council said the figures included all contact made with its multi-agency safeguarding hub (Mash) "whether or not these contacts proved to require such a report".

A spokesman added: "When considering adults found to be at risk and not every contact to Mash, the council's figure is 581 - as opposed to 2,000 published in the report.

"The council is committed to doing all it can to help adults at risk of abuse or neglect."

The reports were collated from sources including police, care providers, councils, health boards and friends and family.

A third of reports for those aged between 18 and 64 concerned psychological or emotional abuse - and there were also 891 reports of sexual abuse, 279 of which related to those over 65.

Age Cymru's interim CEO, Vicki Lloyd, said: "Age Cymru remains extremely concerned about the low level of advocacy provision in Wales and the impact that this has on the lives of people at risk of abuse."

A Welsh Government spokesman said a new act of law that came into effect in 2016 introduced new safeguards.

This included "new duties to report to the local authority someone suspected to be an adult at risk of abuse or neglect and for the local authority to make inquires, or cause inquiries to be made, to determine whether any action is required to safeguard people".

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