A campaign has been launched in Worcestershire to raise awareness of financial abuse.
To mark World Elder Abuse Day in June, the Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board unveiled the first of three posters which are designed to put the issue of financial abuse firmly in the public domain. Research suggests financial abuse is one of the more common forms of abuse which go un-reported across the county.
The financial abuse awareness campaign will run for three months. Three posters have been designed with each covering a particular theme – with a month dedicated to each. The first, being launched this week, focuses on financial abuse of vulnerable people with a physical or learning disability or a mental health condition.
The inspiration for the poster came from a story of a local service user who had thousands of pounds taken from her bank account from someone who had befriended her and earned her trust.
The service user said: "I was the target of financial abuse. I struggled to get to the shops because I'm in a wheelchair so I’d give my ‘friend’ my bank card to go for me. I trusted her and she stole from me. I never thought of myself being different from anyone else until this happened, but now I realise I need to protect myself to ensure this never happens again."
Pete Morgan, the Independent Chair of the Worcestershire Safeguarding Adults Board, said: "There are many forms of abuse, including physical, neglect and sexual abuse and we are working really hard in Worcestershire to reduce instances among adults. Financial abuse is one of those which are often difficult to detect; there aren't any physical bruises which indicate something's wrong, but as the poster illustrates, this doesn't mean it doesn't go on and that it doesn't hurt and deeply affect victims.
"There are signs which indicate that financial abuse might happen and it's clear that some people are targeted because of their apparent vulnerability and our website is home to lots of information on what people should do if they suspect they or someone they know is being abused in this way."
The posters will be distributed to the three acute hospitals around the county as well as community hospitals. They will also appear in GP surgeries, libraries and other public venues.
For more information or advice visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk/safeguardingadults.