Question on ensuring that older people are aware of the types of domestic abuse, and are informed about the information and support available, The House of Lords, 30 November

Councils are determined to prevent and stop domestic abuse in all its forms. They play a vital role protecting older people from abuse through a range of front-line services, and have a statutory responsibility for safeguarding vulnerable adults with care and support needs.


Key messages

  • Councils are determined to prevent and stop domestic abuse in all its forms. They play a vital role protecting older people from abuse through a range of front-line services, and have a statutory responsibility for safeguarding vulnerable adults with care and support needs.
  • The Care Act 2014 sets out the legal framework for councils’ responsibilities and roles around safeguarding, giving the local authority overall responsibility for safeguarding adults locally. The Act also acknowledges the range of different types of abuse including physical abuse, domestic violence, sexual abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, financial or material abuse, neglect and self-neglect and coercive control. 
  • As part of the Care and Health Sector-led Improvement Programme, the LGA and its partner the Association of Directors of Adult Services provides a range of resources to support local areas’ roles and responsibilities in keeping people safe. We continue to update our resources to share best practice and learnings for supporting victims of domestic abuse, including to reflect changes in the Domestic Abuse Act. Some of these resources are listed below.
  • Councils commissioned advocacy services in care homes play an important role in safeguarding, including to recognise, prevent and stop forms of abuse. The LGA and ADASS have published a guide, Strengthening the role of advocacy in making safeguarding personal. to support councils and other partners to strengthen the role advocacy can play in effectively safeguarding residents.
  • However, resource constraints continue to impact councils’ ability to deliver on the ambitions of the Care Act and provide support to all those who need it. LGA analysis shows that adult social care costs rose by £8.5bn over the last decade, with councils required to address a £6.1 billion funding gap through making £4.1 billion in savings to social care. Councils need a long-term, sustainable funding model for social care, alongside adequate funding for critical early-intervention and victim support services to deliver an effective, multi-agency approach to tackling all forms of abuse.
  • Research from Safelives shows that people aged over 61 are more likely to experience abuse than those under 61 and are likely to experience abuse for twice as long before seeking help. Older victims of abuse are also far more likely to have a disability; 48 per cent of older victims of abuse are disabled. Yet older people are significantly under-represented in those seeking support from domestic abuse services.
  • We are pleased that the Government has committed to bring forward a public communications campaign to target perpetrators of violence and abuse. This should include targeted engagement with older people, to raise awareness of the different types of abuse and the support available to victims.

Councils’ role in adult safeguarding

The Care Act 2014 also outlines how councils and key local partners should work with adults at risk of abuse or neglect. Some of the provisions under the Act include:

Strategic coordination

  • Councils’ working with partners to prevent and stop abuse and neglect, including coordinating Safeguarding Adults Boards to implement a joint safeguarding strategy for their areas.
  • Councils carrying out Safeguarding Adults Reviews when someone with care and support needs dies as a result of neglect or abuse and there is a concern that the local authority or its partners could have done more to protect them.

Support for individuals

  • Councils’ are responsible for making enquiries, or requesting partners to make them, when they think an adult with care and support needs may be at risk of abuse or neglect and taking action to support them.
  • Make sure that the wishes and preferences of the person concerned remain at the centre, in line with Making Safeguarding Personal.

Further information