Date Published: 13 November 2020
Rutland County Council is appealing for help to protect vulnerable adults and children during the second COVID-19 lockdown, by urging people to look out for signs of abuse.
Public health measures requiring people to stay at home and reduce contact with others to stop the spread of COVID-19 mean that adults and children are once again spending more time at home, where there are fewer opportunities to escape abuse and less chance for other people to spot it.
There are many different types of adult abuse, including physical, emotional, sexual and financial. Abuse can also affect many different people; those who are particularly at risk include both men and women living with partners who have a history of abusive behaviour, older people and people with special educational needs.
Signs of abuse towards adults can include:
- Individuals becoming quiet and withdrawn
- Being aggressive or angry for no obvious reason
- Looking unkempt, dirty or thinner than usual
- Sudden changes in their character, such as appearing helpless, depressed or tearful
- Physical signs, like bruises, wounds, fractures or other untreated injuries
- The same injuries happening more than once
- Not wanting to be left by themselves, or alone with a certain person or people
“Lockdown means that we have all gone back to spending more time indoors. For some, this will mean spending more time with an abuser. During the last national lockdown, we saw a national increase in requests for help and we want people to know that we’re here for them. We have specially trained officers who can offer advice, support and assistance so please don’t tolerate abuse of any kind.”
Councillor Alan Walters, Cabinet Member for Safeguarding Adults
The Council is asking people to be alert to signs of possible adult abuse. This could include aggressive or repeated shouting and the noise of hitting, crying or things being broken. Relatives and close friends may also notice things like social media accounts being quieter than usual, behaviour during calls that is out of character and restriction of calls.
To report concerns about the welfare of an adult, please call the Council’s Adult Safeguarding Team on: 01572 758 341 or email: email@example.com.
Children and young people may also be at increased risk of mistreatment during lockdown, or exposed to harmful behaviour as an indirect result of adult abuse at home.
“We want to ensure children continue to be protected during this extremely difficult period. Lockdown and the knock-on effect on people’s livelihoods means that many households are feeling the strain, with anxiety about health and financial pressures. The majority of children will be attending school during the second lockdown but we are still asking residents to help us look out for signs of neglect or abuse. If you have any concerns or something doesn’t look right, please let us know. Across the county, front doors are now being kept closed, but our door is always open.”
Councillor David Wilby, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services
Signs of abuse and neglect among children can include:
- Very young children being left on their own
- Children looking dirty or not changing their clothes
- Children appearing to be withdrawn or anxious
- Aggressive or repeated shouting
- Sounds of hitting or banging and things being broken
- Children crying for long periods of time
- Relatives stopped from talking to children by phone or video call
To report concerns about children’s welfare call: 01572 758 407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If an adult or a child is in immediate danger, you should call 999 and ask for the police.
More information about signs of abuse and how to report any concerns can be found on our Safeguarding page.