A major new campaign is being launched to encourage Birmingham residents to report suspected cases of financial abuse.
The 'Suspect it? Report it' campaign has been organised by Birmingham Safeguarding Adults Board (BSAB), a partnership of organisations including Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police and the NHS.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of financial abuse, the term used to describe causing harm to someone by taking or defrauding them of their money, goods or property.
Each year over 5,000 calls are made to Birmingham City Council about the suspected abuse of adults at risk. Adults at risk can include people with sensory impairments, disabilities or people with long term illnesses. Financial abuse is the second most common form of abuse reported.
Financial abuse can take many forms, from carers taking money intended for shopping without permission, to transferring the deeds of property. Abuse can take place anywhere but is most commonly reported as taking place in people's own homes, or in care homes.
People who suspect that abuse of adults at risk may be taking place are encouraged to report it to social care professionals via Birmingham City Council's Adults and Communities Access Point.
Cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr John Cotton, said: “This campaign highlights a very important issue. Protecting vulnerable people in Birmingham from financial abuse is everyone's responsibility and we know from previous campaigns that people will step in and voice their concerns.
“Financial abuse can be difficult to spot, as the evidence may not always be easy to see. Signs can include a person suddenly not having enough money for regular bills and shopping, or financial documents being looked after without the person at risk understanding the arrangement.”
The campaign is being rolled out to community and health organisations across the city. Members of the public are being asked to help raise awareness of the campaign on social media, using the hashtag #reportit.
Alan Lotinga, Chair of Birmingham Safeguarding Adults Board said: “If you are concerned that an adult at risk may be being abused, please get in touch via the Adults and Communities Access Point.
“We get lots of calls from health professionals and carers, but we would like everyone to be aware that anyone can report suspected cases of financial abuse. Even if you are unsure, we would urge you to get in touch so that we can investigate if necessary.
“Safeguarding is everyone's business. We all have a part to play in helping to keep people at risk in our city safe.”
To report a concern, please contact the Adults and Communities Access Point (ACAP) in confidence on 0121 303 1234, and press option 1 for safeguarding. In an emergency call 999.
Notes to Editors
- The Suspect it? Report it campaign launches on 29th September 2014 and runs for six weeks. More information about the campaign can be found at the Birmingham Safeguarding Adults Board website, www.bsab.org/eyes-and-ears
- An 'Adult at risk' is defined as a person who is 18 years and over; who is in need of community care services because of frailty, learning or physical or sensory disabilities or mental health issues; who is or may be unable to protect himself or herself from significant hard or exploitation (source: Safeguarding Adults: A Practitioners Guide April 2013).
- Financial abuse reporting statistics in Birmingham obtained from Birmingham Safeguarding Adults Board's 2102/13 Annual Report: http://www.bsab.org/media/BSAB-Final-Annual-Report-2012-2013-.pdf
- Birmingham Safeguarding Adults Board is a multiagency partnership that aims to safeguard and protect adults at risk so that they live a life free from abuse and neglect. The Board is tasked with developing the partnership so as to ensure effective local arrangements are in place for the safeguarding of adults at risk of harm consistent with statutory guidance and accepted best practice.
- Statutory and key partner agencies that comprise: Birmingham Safeguarding Adults Board include: Birmingham City Council, Birmingham Community Health Care Trust, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham Women's NHS Foundation Trust, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham Community Safety Partnership, Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, National Probation Service, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands Ambulance Trust, West Midlands Fire Service, West Midlands Police, Birmingham Cross City CCG, Birmingham South Central CCG and Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG.