Safeguarding Adults Data Trends

The Covid-19 Pandemic has raised unprecedented pressures and challenges in relation to Safeguarding Adults and the collection and analysis of data has been key in shaping our response. We have worked collectively as a Safeguarding Adults Board to identify emergening trends and have adapted our approach to support those most at risk of abuse and neglect. 

One area which we have monitored closely has been the number of Safeguarding Adults Referrals received by the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH). The chart below shows the number of Referrals received by week from immediately prior to the ‘lockdown restrictions’ being announced to immediately after the significant easing of restrictions in June. Initially, there was a marked decrease in the number of cases received by the MASH with the lowest, of 56, being received on w/c 6th April. This was a concern as it’s likely that abuse and neglect were being under reported. Subsequently, a communications strategy was launched to publicise the message that the MASH was fully operational during the restrictions. There has then been a gradual increase since this point with over 100 Safeguarding Adults Referrals received per week throughout June. By comparison, the average number of Safeguarding Adults Referrals received in 2019/20 was 111.5. It is hoped that this indicates we will not receive the ‘surge’ in Safeguarding Adults Referrals that was expected following the easing of restrictions. The MASH has introduced an ‘OPEL’ system to closely monitor and manage significant surges in demand should this occur. 

Alongside fluctuations in the number of safeguarding Adults Referrals we have received, there have been changes in the prevalence of the types of abuse reported. The chart below shows the proportion of each type of abuse recorded for Section 42 Enquiries. The proportion of cases involving neglect and organisational abuse has decreased substantially since the restrictions were announced. Allegations of these types of abuse tend to be associated with nursing and residential services which have been closed to most visitors. As a high proportion of Safeguarding Concerns of this type are made by family, friends and visiting professionals, it is possible that this abuse is currently under reported. It’s also important to note that nursing and residential services have been working extremely hard to support and safeguard residents over this period and have received substantial support from members of the Safeguarding Adults Board. Therefore, it’s possible that occurrences of these types of abuse have reduced as a result. 

There is a concern nationally, as well as locally in relation to the substantial increase in domestic abuse. The proportion of this abuse type has more than doubled to 12.1% since the 23rd March. This may be indicative of potential increased stress and anxiety for informal carers as a result of the restrictions. The concern is that this figure is understated as the professionals, friends and family who would usually raise these concerns are visiting less often. Members of the Safeguarding Adults Board have been working to promote and enhance support services for survivors of domestic abuse alongside the development of tools to support practitioners. The Safeguarding Adults Board has co-produced a webinar relating to the response to domestic abuse which we will be holding on the 2nd September and you can register to join by clicking here.

18 August 2020:15:26