Today marks the start of National Adult Safeguarding Week. To raise awareness of this important issue, we are sharing Margaret’s story..
At Greenchurch Legal, safeguarding adults who may find themselves in vulnerable circumstances is at the heart of what we do. But it is not easy, and it is not simple. The world is a dangerous place, and people with impaired capacity or mental health problems are routinely targeted by criminals and opportunists. Margaret lives in her own house, with support from her local community mental health team. She has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, which makes her life challenging, but she enjoys a good level of independence and lives her life, her way. Margaret was walking home from her local shops when a white van drew along side her. The two men inside asked for address, saying they were coming to do some work for her. Confused and put on the spot, Margaret told them where she lived. A few hours later they turned up and Margaret let them into her home. They messed around for half an hour and then asked Margaret for payment. Margaret extracted a tin of £20 notes (that no-one knew she had), and the men counted out £4000, and left. Margaret was heartbroken and frightened.
We had recently been appointed as Margaret as property and affairs deputy. We asked her where the cash had come from. Margaret explained that when she was a little girl, her mother had told her she must always “put something away”, and so for many years she had secretly collected and hidden what grew to be a significant sum – which left her shockingly vulnerable. We are now working with Margaret, alongside her community services, to help her to change the habit of a lifetime, and to accept the need for additional security around her home. This is a team effort. It needs a multidisciplinary approach. We want to protect Margaret, but not take away the independence she holds dear.
This week is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the indicators of abuse and to better equip ourselves to support and protect those who find themselves vulnerable.
We wholeheartedly recommend the information and resources published by the Ann Craft Trust for National Safeguarding Week 2022
Margaret* is not the person’s real name