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More than 20,000 allegations of abuse against older and vulnerable people, data shows

More than 20,000 allegations of abuse by home care workers against older and vulnerable people have been made in the last three years, figures show.
Carer_abuse-iStock.jpg

More than 20,000 allegations of abuse by home care workers against older and vulnerable people have been made in the last three years, figures show.

Data obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act revealed the claims included 12,000 allegations concerning neglect, 2,400 cases of psychological abuse, more than 3,400 allegations of physical abuse, as well as 400 claims of sexual abuse.

The vast majority related to care of older people in their homes, with more than 9,700 involving people aged over 80.

The BBC File On 4 investigation also sought to find out what action was taken following the allegations.

The data showed prosecutions are rare, with just 700 of the 23,428 alerts resulting

More than 20,000 allegations of abuse by home care workers against older and vulnerable people have been made in the last three years, figures show.


Many of the abuse allegations involved the care of older people in their homes,
with more than 9,700 involving people aged over 80. Picture: iStock

Data obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act revealed the claims included 12,000 allegations concerning neglect, 2,400 cases of psychological abuse, more than 3,400 allegations of physical abuse, as well as 400 claims of sexual abuse.

The vast majority related to care of older people in their homes, with more than 9,700 involving people aged over 80.

The BBC File On 4 investigation also sought to find out what action was taken following the allegations.

The data showed prosecutions are rare, with just 700 of the 23,428 alerts resulting in police action and 15 prosecutions.

Growing problem 

File On 4 said it was not possible to find out whether all these reports were valid and fully investigated.

Bridget Warr, chief executive of the UK Home Care Association, which represents care companies in the UK, described the findings as ‘horrifying’ and blamed cuts to local government budgets.

Local Government Ombudsman Michael King said there was a growing problem over standards of home care.

Ombudsman complaints about home care rose by 25% last year to 372 and 65% of them were upheld.

Continuing to challenge 

The Department of Health told the programme it has introduced tougher inspections of care services, given councils access to up to £7.6 billion of dedicated funding for social care, and will continue to challenge local authorities that do not fulfil their duties under the Care Act.

File On 4 detailed how some older people were left for days without proper medication or attention to personal hygiene.

The BBC asked every council in England, Scotland and Wales with responsibility for social care for the numbers of allegations of abuse and neglect made against home carers who were contracted by local authorities. In Northern Ireland, the BBC sent Freedom of Information requests to health and social care trusts.

However, only half of the councils contacted in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland provided data, suggesting the true number of allegations could be far higher.

Listen to the File On 4 episode here.


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