Better help for the abused in Sheffield

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COUNCIL chiefs in Sheffield say better detection systems are behind a rise in reports of the possible abuse of vulnerable adults in Sheffield.

Last year, Sheffield Council was contacted more than 2,070 times about the issue.

Some 710 cases were taken up, and 580 have reached conclusion.

Investigations substantiated or found partial evidence of abuse in 105 cases, but failed to find anything to confirm abuse in 340 other cases.

Eddie Sherwood, Sheffield Council’s director of care and support, said: “The increase in Sheffield is broadly in line with trends in other large cities. In Sheffield we have no evidence to suggest abuse is more of a problem now than it has been in the past.

“Although there has been a rise in the number of alerts of possible abuse reported, this does not mean there is more abuse happening.

“Our view is it indicates we are getting better at detecting where it might be happening and taking steps to protect anyone who might be at risk.

“During the period relating to these figures, we ran a major publicity campaign to increase awareness of adult abuse and give people confidence to report it.

“It is encouraging we now have so many people trained to be on the lookout.

“Of the alerts about possible abuse we receive, more than two-thirds don’t require investigation as there is no evidence of abuse.

“Cases screened out in this way are directed to other more appropriate sources of support.

“The remaining cases are investigated and not all will be found to be cases of abuse.

“In Sheffield there is a really strong partnership between the council, health services, the police and lots of other agencies, all working to make sure any potential instances of abuse are taken seriously and dealt with thoroughly.

“We have well established methods for assessing and investigating if abuse has occurred. Where we find abuse has occurred, we work to ensure the appropriate actions are taken.

“We remain vigilant and are always looking to improve how we respond.

“We recognise how much of a public concern this is, which is why it remains such a high priority for the council and other agencies.”

* Call 0114 273 4908 to raise concerns of abuse.