Council urges local people to 'see something, say something and do something'

To tackle the misery of adult abuse, Buckinghamshire Council is urging local people if they see something, to say something and do something, to help protect adults potentially at risk.

In a brand new campaign, launching today (6 September) the council’s clear message is that if you know about or have a suspicion that someone is in danger or being exploited, then the right thing to do is to play your part and report your concerns. Abuse of adults can take a variety of forms, from physical, neglect and financial abuse to mental or psychological abuse and it can happen to anybody over the age of 18.

Everyone deserves to live a happy life, in a safe place free from harm and neglect, regardless of age, gender, disability or ethnicity. So, as well as raising awareness of adult abuse, the campaign also spotlights the different types, the signs to look out for and most importantly what actions to take if abuse is suspected.

Some adults find it harder to get help and may be more at risk of harm and exploitation, such as those with a disability, a mental health condition or a temporary or long term illness. Sadly, vulnerable adults are more likely to be a victim and can be specifically targeted because of their vulnerability.

Data held by the council shows that during 2020/21 it received close to 12,000 reports of suspected abuse and neglect of an adult living in Buckinghamshire. Nine out of ten reports received were made by professionals, such as doctors, police, care providers, members of the Ambulance Service and council employees.

Buckinghamshire Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Angela Macpherson says that every single person has a role to play to help keep adults in our communities safe from harm and neglect.

“Safeguarding is everyone’s business," she said. "You certainly don’t need to work in safeguarding to help protect another adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.

"For example, perhaps you’re a hairdresser worried about a client or a shop worker who has noticed a change in a regular customer? In fact, anyone who has contact with other adults can make a report if they are worried. It might turn out to be nothing, but trust your instincts and let us investigate. Your actions could have huge benefits to help improve other people’s lives.”

Angela continued: “Sadly, we know that there are individuals in Buckinghamshire who are suffering abuse at the hands of others. Due to their vulnerability some may not even know they're a victim, which is why it’s so important that we all take responsibility to look out for these people and raise the alarm if we have any concerns.”

“Of course, we fully understand that some people may be worried about the repercussions of raising the alarm or have doubts about whether their concerns are real. However, it’s important to remember, you aren’t interfering and you can remain completely anonymous if you wish."

Angela added: “All reports will be investigated sensitively, and working with appropriate partner organisations, action will only be taken where it is clear that abuse is taking place.”

The council’s dedicated web pages and factsheets are available for residents to refer to if they are concerned about a friend, relative, colleague or neighbour. They provide all the information needed so that we can all play our part to protect others who may be at risk of harm.

Concerns can be reported in three ways:

If you fear someone is in immediate danger, you should always dial 999.

Find out more about adult safeguarding.