The number of adults being physically abused in Doncaster has doubled in the last year, shocking figures reveal.
A staggering 778 cases of abuse - including physical, sexual, emotional and psychological - were reported in the borough between 2012 and 2013.
Of the nearly 780 reports, 485 were of women and 293 of men.
The statistics, which have been presented to Doncaster Council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, showed significant increases in all areas of abuse including in hospitals, care and nursing facilities and family homes.
But author of the report Roger Thompson said the reason for the surge in figures could be down to an increasing awareness about the problem.
The independent chair of Doncaster Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board said: “There has been a significant increase in the number of instances of alleged abuse that have taken place in a ‘mental health inpatient setting’ - up from only nine in 2011/12 to 39 2012/13.
“This may be indicative of the number of private mental health hospitals situated within the Doncaster remit and their increasing awareness of Safeguarding Adults processes.
“The number of instances of alleged abuse in acute hospitals, although still relatively small, has risen from only one to 15 this year.
“This indicates that the basic awareness regarding safeguarding adults and abuse is improving, and reporting is gradually increasing.”
The highest number of those said to have carried out the abuse included social care staff and family members.
Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “Any abuse of older people is unacceptable and we need a zero tolerance approach to any abuse whether through neglect, financial manipulation or physical or mental cruelty.
“Our biggest fear is that there are still many cases that are not reported, and we would encourage anyone who suspects that an older person is being abused to contact their social services department or the police straight away.
“The Care Bill presents the ideal opportunity to ensure that vulnerable adults living in our community are given the best possible protection from neglect and abuse.
“We welcome the advances that the Bill already makes in safeguarding older and disabled people but, with some additional changes, that protection could be so much more effective.
“We want to see stronger powers to investigate suspected abuse where a third person is denying access to the person, a new offence of neglect of a vulnerable person, and an offence of corporate neglect so that directors of care providers can be held to account for neglect.”
Councillor Pat Knight, chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board meeting, said: “The safety of vulnerable adults is a priority for Doncaster Council and we work closely with our partners to deal with any issues in a timely and person centred way.”
n The Age UK Advice Line on 0800 169 6565 can give advice on what to do if you suspect an older person is being abused.