What is Abuse and Who Can Help?

We are proud to say that following the pilot project detailed below and with the subsequent financial support from the Welsh Government, 22,000 Bilingual Keeping Safe DVD’s have been produced. Each County Borough Council across Wales has received 1000 copies to distribute to potential isolated or vulnerable residents in their communities.

Additionally, many professionals viewing the short videos have also told the Caerphilly 50+ Positive Action coordinator that it would be useful if these videos could be available online for staff to use in training. So, working together, we have uploaded these films to our website thus enabling professionals, residents and their families the chance to view them and, as a result, help them to help keep themselves, their friends, neighbours   and service users safe.

How & why did this work happen?

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 or potentially isolated and vulnerable. The Caerphilly Over 50+ forum and Menter Caerffili agreed to work with Biomorphic Energy Productions to film the presentations.  Gwent Police allowed the project to use one of its Be Sign Be Safe films that covers Door step callers and Plymouth People’s First group allowed us to use their Safety on Buses film. Biomorphic Energy Productions edited & subtitled the content then brought all 5 films together onto the one DVD.

This project is a great example of how listening to and working with older people can bring about meaningful engagement and benefits for all those involved.