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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.

Scams and fraud

Scams & Fraud

According to the Metropolitan Police, scams cost the British public Billions (yes – that’s Billions) of pounds every year. They come door-to-door, by mail, phone and online and they get more sophisticated every day and are a widespread problem. A Which? Survey in 2015 found that 54% of respondents had either personally been exposed to a scam, or had a friend or relative who had been, within the last 2 years. How can we protect ourselves from this onslaught?

There is a wealth of information online about how to recognise scams and fraud, and give details about the wide range that have been identified. The Little Book of Big Scams (little_book_scam) and the Scam Guide are two excellent resources.

It is unfortunately true that we all have to put time, effort and resources into keeping ourselves safe fromToo Good all forms of crime. That is the world we live in. Reading the examples in the resources presented above is well worthwhile. But there are two general principles that will help to keep you from falling prey to scams and fraud.

  1. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!”
  2. Do not respond to “cold callers”.

Think: did you do anything to initiate the contact? If not, then do not reply. We do not like to be rude to somebody at the door or on the phone. You don’t have to be rude; just say “No thank you” and shut the door or put the phone down. Don’t fall for the “I’m not selling anything, I am just doing a survey for …..”. If it arrives in the mail, just put the letter or flyer in the bin.

Online scams and fraud are increasing rapidly. Suspect emails may be routed to your Spam or Trash folders by your ISP. Delete them without even opening them unless you are very sure that you recognise the sender (some emails do get directed incorrectly by the ISP but be careful if you accept them). Phishing emails, that appear authentic and to originate from authoritative sources such as your bank, are becoming more prevalent. It is very likely that you will have received emails from supposed banks with which you do not even have an account. They should be easy to spot! Your bank or companies like Amazon will never ask you for sensitive information to be sent to them by email. Never respond to such emails or click on links they contain, even if you think they might genuine. If you want to check, get their phone number from your account statement and call them. And, whatever you do, never, ever click on a link in an email. It might appear that it will take you to your bank web site but it is easy to set it up to take you elsewhere.

You can avoid some unwanted phone calls by registering with the Telephone Preference Service. Unfortunately, this does not prevent all unwanted calls and scammers are least likely to abide by their rules. For a small cost, you can purchase a call blocking device that attaches to your phone and allows you to receive only calls you want to accept. BT also has a range of phones with the built-in capability of call blocking.