Safeguarding vulnerable adults
Posted Tuesday 19 January 2010
Mind’s campaign to improve access to justice for people with mental health problems took a major step forward today. In a statement in the House of Commons, Phil Hope, Minister for Care Services, announced measures to prevent abuse of adults and to bring abusers to justice. Specifically he announce to Parliament that:
- local safeguarding boards that bring together health, care, housing and criminal justice agencies to share information would be made a legal requirement in every area of the country
- a group of five Ministers would meet regularly to set and coordinate policy on safeguarding issues at the highest level
- a review of existing guidance would begin immediately.
The Government agreed to review safeguards for vulnerable adults after Mind raised serious concerns that the system did not work for people with mental health problems. Our research has shown that these crimes are often perpetrated by the very people who should be supporting and empowering those in their care. Others have undergone systematic abuse by their neighbours or even other patients in hospital wards, but their care workers have never thought to challenge or report these crimes. Mind welcomes the promise to raise the profile of this issue and the opportunity to work with the Government to produce new guidance to tackle it.
Paul Farmer, Mind’s Chief Executive, said:
"We have seen that when agencies work together with people with mental health problems they can prevent abuse from occurring and can ensure that justice is done. By giving priority to this issue the Government is helping to reduce the risk of abuse. Mind has heard many examples where people have been exploited by those tasked with supporting them, such as the woman whose neighbour did her weekly grocery shop but also helped herself to £14,000 of her money and yet her care workers did not notice. We look forward to working with the Government to produce new guidance that will better safeguard the rights of people in vulnerable circumstances."
Find out more about Mind's work on adult safeguarding here.