‘Speak Up on Elder Abuse’ – new helpline launched by TV Presenter Fiona Phillips
Agencies in Essex joined with Crimestoppers to launch new phone line…
26th February saw the launch of a new elder abuse helpline, powered by Crimestoppers. The Essex Safeguarding Adult Board along with Thurrock and Southend Safeguarding Boards and the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner worked in partnership with Crimestoppers to develop this new helpline.
Elder abuse is a national problem. It is not specific to Essex but agencies across the county felt that it was an issue that needed to be addressed and have been proactive in the setting up of this helpline. In 2013/14 in Essex there were almost 1500 cases of reported abuse which involved individuals over the age of 65.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure that our elderly communities are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
“That is why I am supporting this new reporting line. Hopefully it will encourage more people to speak up and take action if they know that something is wrong.”
The free 24/7 reporting line is anonymous (but callers have the option to leave their details if they wish) and aims to encourage members of the public to report any incident of elder abuse – whether it’s in a care home, hospital or in the individual’s own home.
Calls will be taken by call agents from the Crimestoppers contact centre, who have been trained on how to take calls on elder abuse. This ensures they ask the right questions to gain as much useful information as possible. The information will be passed to the relevant Local Authority Safeguarding Officers. If a criminal offence has taken place, information will also be passed to the relevant police force.
It will be trialled in Essex, Southend and Thurrock for nine months from February 26 and, if it’s a success, it could be rolled out nationally. Further information can be found on www.essexsab.org.uk/elderabuse or www.crimestoppers-uk.org/essex-elder-abuse
This helpline does not replace the current safeguarding referral line in Essex – AskSAL 08452 66 66 63, which has a wider remit to which people can report all types of abuse, not just elder abuse. People are encouraged to continue using AskSAL if they want to report a concern.