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Safeguarding adults during the COVID-19 crisis

During the COVID-19 crisis, it is particularly important to safeguard adults with care and support needs. They may be more vulnerable to abuse and neglect as others may seek to exploit disadvantages due to age, disability, mental or physical impairment or illness.

These groups may be targeted because of several factors. They may need assistance with some tasks, be less up to speed with technology, more welcoming of new contacts, more trusting and - for many older people - wealthier. There is evidence that social isolation increases the likelihood of abuse. Many older and disabled people spend long periods at home alone, and now as the whole nation is being asked to stay at home the same groups are more likely to be alone rather than in a family group

At a time of international crisis, those who seek to exploit these vulnerabilities are quick to act. We will all have been warned of new scams offering help and advice on COVID-19 or with financial assistance. Many of us will have concerns for family members who may fall prey to fraudsters.

This is a time when we must all be extra vigilant and try to pick up any early signs that something isn't right

Safeguarding duties and responsibilities apply to adults who:

  • have care and support needs
  • are experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect and
  • are unable to protect themselves because of their care and support needs

Many people with care and support needs will be supported either in the family home or by residential and nursing care services. It could be argued that these people will be better shielded from abuse, but national statistics show high incidence of abuse where the abuser is a family member or the paid care provider. Those living alone in the community, now isolated to an even greater degree, may also be a target for scammers and fraudsters.

Dumfries and Galloway Public Protection Committee urges everyone to take action if they're concerned about an adult or child.

If you're worried don't hesitate to contact the social work department on 030 33 33 3001, or call the police on 101