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Recognising Abuse And What To Do About It

Raising awareness of abuse and neglect with the general public and, in particular, vulnerable adult groups has been a vision for Caerphilly County Borough Council (CCBC) Social Services Protection of Vulnerable Adults (POVA) team for some time. They realise that most residents do not understand what constitutes abuse, what the signs and symptoms are and, importantly, where they can turn to for advice or support. Social Service’s aim is to develop appropriate training to enable residents to be better equipped to identify abuse, report it to the authorities and empower people to protect themselves, their friends, relatives and neighbours.

In particular the team wanted to develop something that acknowledged that people often learn better from someone they can relate to or with whom they share common ground.  So they approach the Caerphilly County Borough 50+ forum to work with them and we arranged for 3 volunteers from the forum to become Peer-to-Peer trainers.  These volunteers, supported by a professional ‘Buddy’ then delivered a ‘Keep Safe’ presentation that explained what abuse was and how to get help & advice. This was delivered to a number of older people’s groups and organisations across the borough.

The POVA team asked our volunteers for their feedback on what is was like delivering the sessions and if there was anything they felt needed improving or developing.  The 50+ forum Peer-to-Peer volunteers felt that those who might be housebound and more vulnerable to abuse were least likely to get to these sessions and therefore a way needed to be found to get this advice to them. They also mentioned that Doorstep callers were an issue that was frequently discussed in the sessions.

Working with the Council and the 50+ Positive Action coordinator it was agreed that the POVA presentation should be made into a DVD that could be distributed directly to residents who might be house bound. The Caerphilly County Borough 50+ forum steering group agreed to be the audience for the filmed version. It was also agreed that a number of other films could be included to ensure the feedback issues were addressed.

As a result the following films were brought together on to one DVD:

‘Keeping Safe’ :  Peer to Peer presentation

‘Protect yourself form Abuse’ :   An Audio version of the Councils Leaflet

‘They Really Helped me’ :  A service User’s story

‘Dealing with Cold Callers’ and ‘Public transport’ :   Two Gwent Police “Sign – Be Safe” films

Working with a range of partners we distributed 2000 DVDs to potentially vulnerable and isolated residents across the borough. We sent feedback forms out with the DVD’s and from those forms returned to us we established:

  • 78% Watched the DVD
  • 19% did not have a DVD player
  • 15% gave it to a relative, friend or neighbour
  • 60% were likely to be living on their own
  • 90% had a disability

Of those who watched it:

  • 96% were more aware of what is abuse & neglect
  • 96% now know who to turn to for help & advice
  • 96% now know who they can report abuse to
  • 84% think if a friend, relative or neighbour is suffering from abuse they are more likely to ask for advice or report it
  • 84% feel more confident about dealing with door step callers
  • 65% feel more confidents about travelling on the bus
  • 3% learnt nothing new

As the feedback to this pilot project has been so positive the Caerphilly 50+ Positive Action are now working with Menter Caerphilly to produce a fully bilingual version of the DVD at which time we will endeavour to ensure it is distributed to those who might need it.

We hope you will watch the films and find them as valuable as our feedback suggests. Please share the links to this website or the Youtube links with your friends, relatives and neighbours so that as many people as possible will know what abuse is and how to protect themselves.