'Devastating' - abuse on old people soars

HALF the recorded cases of adult abuse in North Somerset are against people in registered care homes. Latest figures released by

HALF the recorded cases of adult abuse in North Somerset are against people in registered care homes.Latest figures released by North Somerset Council also show that in 2006 more than 50 per cent of victims in both registered homes and in the community were aged over 65.Weston's Senior Citizens Forum chairman, Ken Lacey, says the figures are potentially 'devastating.'Mr Lacey said: "If these figures are accurate it would be devastating and appalling."I hope the council is looking into this. It's terrible."The statistics, which reveal the extent of adult abuse in North Somerset, was presented by the local authority's executive member for social services, Muriel Kraft, to councillors on Tuesday.Cllr Kraft will also reveal in her report that more than half the reported cases of abuse, which could for example include not feeding care home residents, were reported by social services or agency staff.Cllr Kraft said: "I do not know how we will work to reduce these figures at the moment."I do not think elderly people should be abused in any shape or form."But abuse could mean that people in care homes are not being fed. They are therefore not being neglected, they are just not being fed properly."People who run the care homes need to make sure their staff are well trained."The total number of reported cases of abuse against adults in the community and in care settings has gone up more than 40 per cent between 2004/05 and 2005/06 to 116.The council is improving the way it records cases of abuse via its SWIFT system, which is the database used to keep track of referrals.National charity Help The Aged has also launched a campaign to stop elderly people being abused.It aims to create greater awareness of the problem and make sure that training in the prevention, recognition and management of abuse of the elderly is a basic element of all staff training for people like care agency staff, doctors, nurses, council staff and social workers.

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