New campaign launched to highlight and tackle ‘hidden’ financial abuse

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THE ‘hidden problem’ of financial abuse of adults is being highlighted in a new campaign running in Hastings and Rother.

The issue is an increasing concern in the two areas, according to East Sussex County Council (ESCC), which account for more than half of investigations in the county.

From December 2012 to May this year there were 116 cases of financial abuse reported in East Sussex, of which 53 per cent (62) were in Hastings or Rother.In more than 40 of the reported cases in 1066 Country the victims were aged 65 or over.

Victims might notice money missing from their purse or entries on their bank statement they do not recognise, feel pressured to pay for things for someone else or to make changes to their will.

To highlight the problem and encourage more people to report their concerns, East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board is running a series of public events, handing out promotional items and organising an information day for professionals.

The board is a multi-agency body including representatives from ESCC, the police, ambulance and fire and rescue services and the NHS.

Keith Hinkley, board chairman, said: “Financial abuse can take many forms, and is not always carried out by a stranger. It could be a family member or someone you know. People may find it difficult to report their concerns, particularly if the abuse is being carried out by someone close to them, meaning it often remains a hidden problem.

“It’s important people realise that if something doesn’t seem to add up, they can get in touch with us for confidential support and advice. When someone gets in touch we talk through their concerns in confidence and explain the options available, but we won’t take any action without asking their permission first.”

Events are being held at Priory Meadow on Tuesday, November 26 from 8.45am to 5.30pm, Sainsbury’s, in Buckhurst Place, Bexhill, on Tuesday, December 3 from 10am to noon and Budgen’s, in Station Approach, Rye, on Wednesday, December 4 from 10am to noon.

Anyone with concerns about financial abuse can ring Adult Social Care Direct on 0345 6080191, text 07797 878111, use the Minicom service on 01323 466630 or email socialcaredirect@eastsussex.gov.uk.