Clampdown on abuse of the weak and vulnerable by people they should be able to trust

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Old, disabled and mentally and physically ill men and women in Londonderry have been abused by care givers and people they should have been able to trust over the years so local health officials are on a mission to make sure the mistreatment of vulnerable people never happens on their watch.

Karen O’Brien, Western Trust Assistant Director of Social Work and Chair of the Local Adult Safeguarding Partnership (LASP) said: “Abuse in any form is totally unacceptable.

“It goes without saying that all of us would expect to be treated with dignity and respect regardless of social circumstances or the state of our health.

“However, some adults are being mistreated, often at the hands of people they trust.”

To tackle the problem the Western Trust has launched ‘Working Together to Keep Me Safe,’ a project which aims to increase public awareness of adult safeguarding in nursing, residential and supported living care centres.

The project, which is endorsed by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) was recently launched by the Western LASP.

“The Western Trust has a responsibility to contribute to and develop adult safeguarding through prevention, detection, protection, and nurturing collaborative working arrangements,” said Ms O’Brien.

“The ‘Working Together to Keep Me Safe’ project is a positive step towards ensuring that all adults in our care are safe and treated with respect.”

It is hoped ‘Working Together to Keep Me Safe,’ will help prevent the abuse of adults by promoting a culture of quality and dignity in care.

Due to age, disability or ill mental or physical health, many are less able to protect themselves from harm.

This project will help support individuals to make genuine choices in their care and recognise and protect themselves where possible from potential abusive situations,” says Ms O’Brien.

It will offer residents, families and visitors an opportunity to express what is important to them to keep them safe.

The ‘Working Together to Keep Me Safe’ project will be implemented in facilities throughout the Western Trust area during 2016. If you are interested in finding out more about the project please contact Jane White, Western Trust Senior Social Work Practitioner on 028 82835980 or email jane.white@westerntrust.hscni.net.

If you would like to learn more about ‘Working Together to Keep Me Safe,’ require further information or have a concern regarding adult abuse follow the link to the Western Trust website, which can be found at the following: www.westerntrust.hscni.net/services.3137.htm.