Vulnerable people to get more ‘safe places’

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Extra refuges are set to be offered in Sheffield for sufferers of dementia, mental health problems and brain injuries.

There are currently more than 70 shops, offices and community facilities in the city registered as ‘safe places’, where vulnerable people can go if they feel lost, unwell or frightened.

But now the Sheffield Adult Safeguarding Partnership wants to expand the service to include 1,800 people, with the help of community and support groups.

Sheffield Council and South Yorkshire Police will also be working with the partnership to create a map of where the most incidents of abuse against the vulnerable take place locally.

Earlier this month The Star reported that ‘alerts of concern’ relating to abuse or neglect in Sheffield had risen by 27 per cent, from 2,069 in 2011/12 to 2,633 in 2012/13.

Coun Mary Lea, cabinet member for health, care and independent living, said: “It’s incredibly sad that many vulnerable adults are targeted as victims of abuse.

“But this scheme means they can access support and help via the safeguarding adults services in the city for anything from financial issues, physical threats or discriminatory abuse to simply finding safe places such as local libraries and community centres where they are safe from harm.

“The vast majority of abuse takes place in an individual’s home at the hands of family, friends and carers, but at the moment we don’t have a complete picture of the extent of the abuse and neglect that people face and where the hotspots for this may be in Sheffield.”

Coun Lea added: “We hope our research will lead to an increase in the number of businesses, community groups and service providers coming forward to offer a safe place for the most vulnerable people in our society.

“We want more individuals to take advantage of the service and to send a stark warning to perpetrators that disciplinary action will be taken.”