A TWENTY per cent increase has been recorded in safeguarding concerns for adults in the Dorset Council area.

Over a hundred cases are now being reported each week – compared to 80 two years ago.

Very few of the cases reach the highest level of formal investigation with many being classed as self-neglect.

Health officials say the higher level of reporting is positive, allowing professionals to step in and offer help and support, although in a small number of cases the support on offer is consistently refused.

The figures, from an annual report, were welcomed by members of the county’s Dorset and BCP health and wellbeing board.

Councillors and health professionals were told that significant efforts had been made in Dorset during the year to spread the message about how and where to report concerns – with an emphasis on all the agencies taking concerns seriously and not being hesitant to report when it was thought something was wrong.

“The safeguarding team has attended in-person community events to increase awareness of safeguarding and take opportunities to network. Dorset Council continues to deliver a wide range of safeguarding learning events across the health and social care sector with partners, including our 14th Annual Mental Capacity Act Conference delivered online with over 400 attendees,” said the report.

Among the work taken out during the year has been to bolster weekend social work team to help with those being discharged from hospital but still in need of care and support; the teams working closely with the voluntary and community sector, so avoiding unnecessary delays in hospital which may become safeguarding events.

The report says that while emotional, physical and psychological abuse by others continue to be a concern the county sees many cases of self-neglect.

Said the report: “We are seeking to improve understanding of self-neglect across all age groups and how we can work together effectively to provide the right support at the right time.”

The pan-Dorset Safeguarding Adults Board, which operates in both Dorset council areas, were involved with more than 13,000 cases of concern involving vulnerable adults last year.

More than 8,100 serious concerns were reported during the 2022-23 year in the BCP Council area, 5,200 in the Dorset Council area.

After investigation the risk was either removed, or reduced in the majority of cases although in 7per cent of the BCP cases, following investigation, the risk was still said to remain; with 2 per cent of the Dorset cases a remaining risk after investigation.

In both council areas women are nearly twice as likely to be the subject of an investigation as men with a sharper risk increase for women over the age of 75.