Be aware of the signs of adult harm and trust your instincts

Adult harm is not always easy to identify but it is crucial that people with concerns speak out if they think someone is being mistreated, neglected or exploited.

Elderly handing over cash to a stranger is a concern
Elderly handing over cash to a stranger is a concern

The ‘Seen Something? Say Something’ campaign has been launched to highlight the forms adult harm can take in a bid to help people spot the signs that might indicate a person is at risk.

There are many cases of adult harm every day in Scotland.

One such case saw a 75-year-old woman being physically harmed by her son, who had a problem with substance misuse.

The son, who lived with his mum, began to stop his siblings from visiting.

After a relative reported their concerns to social work, an adult support and protection plan was set up for her which resulted in the son being treated for his addiction and being re-homed.

This protected the woman from harm and allowed her to once again welcome visitors into her home.

Adult harm can take place in a range of settings, not just the family home and it can happen at the hands of anyone – a relative, spouse or partner, neighbour, volunteer or a complete stranger.

Warning signs that could indicate an adult is at risk include unexplained cuts and bruises, or refusal to talk about injuries, confusion about where their money has gone, or nervousness around certain people.

The campaign is urging people to trust their gut instinct if they see or hear something that doesn’t feel quite right.

One anonymous phone call or email to social work can result in your worries being addressed and investigated.

Paul Comley, of With-Scotland, a national resource for professionals working with adults at risk, said: “Sometimes people don’t want to get involved, for fear of being seen to intrude in other people’s lives.

“But it is vital to raise concerns and it is safe to do so; the local social work department will check the situation sensitively.”

If you think an adult is at risk, call your local social work department for advice.