Somerset Council and the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board (SSAB) have launched a new campaign asking Somerset residents to look out for members of their community who might be experiencing abuse.
The campaign, called ‘Safeguarding is everyone’s business’, asks that people do their part in supporting their communities by recognising the signs of self-neglect when they see them because self-neglect can be an indicator that someone is being abused. Acting early when you suspect that someone is neglecting themselves could save a person’s life.
If someone is struggling, getting them help early on can prevent things from getting worse, so if people are concerned about a neighbour, friend, or member of their community they can contact Somerset Council to raise a safeguarding concern by calling 0300 123 2224 or email [email protected]. If someone is in immediate danger, the Police should be called by dialling 999.
Somerset has seen a rise in instances of self-neglect related safeguarding enquiries over recent years – rising from 3.57% in 2019/20 to 7.69% in 2022/23, which is slightly above the national average. The poster campaign focusses on three signs of self-neglect which can be looked out for. These are: hoarding, isolation from friends and loved ones, and losing an interest in self-care activities such as maintaining hygiene or paying household bills.
They can be viewed online via the Somerset Safeguarding adults board.
Professor Michael Preston-Shoot, Independent Chair of the Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board said,
“The nights are getting colder and darker and we are all much more likely to be spending time at home, which makes abuse so much harder to spot.
We really hope that this campaign gives people the nudge they need to check in on their neighbours if they haven’t heard from them in a while and, if the signs are there, to report abuse.”
Carolyn Smith, Principal Social Worker (Adults) at Somerset Council said,
“Part of what makes Somerset such a great place to live and work in is the people and our communities. Nearly 50% of our population live in rural areas, so communities are an important part of local support systems.
With this campaign, we’re encouraging communities to connect with people who may be at risk of abuse. If you are worried, please call our contact centre. We have a friendly team on the other end of the phone and we’re contactable by email. Your concerns will be listened to.”
The SSAB website has a section titled ‘Information for the public’ which contains information about types of abuse including signs to look out for, what people can do if they are worried about someone, what adult safeguarding means, and how carers can help. Please visit the Somerset Safeguarding Adults website.
The posters are digital-only and can be viewed by visiting the Somerset Safeguarding Adults website.