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PROTECTING VULNERABLE ADULTS FROM CRIME

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A booklet setting out how vulnerable adults and those with learning disabilities can protect themselves from crime ...
A booklet setting out how vulnerable adults and those with learning disabilities can protect themselves from crime is published today by the Home Office.

The 'Keep Safe' booklet contains advice on how to keep safe when at home and when outside alone, including tips on using public transport and cash machines. It also deals with bullying, attacks and mugging, which often go unreported to the police. There is also advice on where to go for help and how to report incidents to the police.

Findings from 'Health and Social Care Information Centre NHS (2005) National Survey of Adults with Learning Difficulties 2003/04' show that one in three people with learning difficulties did not feel safe in their homes, local areas or using public transport. Also one in ten had been the victim of crime in the last year (2004) which can have devastating effects to people's lives causing emotional distress and loss of self-confidence.

Home Office minister Hazel Blears said:

'For vulnerable adults and people with learning disabilities such crime can be an especially harrowing experience. Some criminals see people as an easy target, and take advantage of them in a way they would not with other groups.

'This booklet aims to tackle that and encourage more vulnerable adults to take steps to protect themselves from crime and deter those who try to exploit them. Whether it is harassment, assault or theft, I want more people in this group to continue to come forward and report crimes to the police, and to get help when they need it.

'I hope people with learning disabilities, vulnerable adults and the people who work and live with them, will use this valuable document to help protect themselves and tackle crime.'

A number of organisations were consulted in the development of the document, including the police, self-advocacy groups and organisations representing people with learning disabilities including Mencap, Voice UK and People First.

Kathryn Stone, chief executive of Voice UK, said;

'Voice UK welcomes all publications that promote safety for people with learning disabilities; we hope that this booklet will support many people to be more aware of crime that is often targeted at them, just because they have learning disabilities.'

15,000 copies of the booklet will be distributed by Mencap, Voice UK and the National Forum for People with Learning Disabilities.

It can also be accessed at www.crimereduction.gov.uk/keepsafe.htm

NOTES

1. The 'Keep Safe' booklet builds on Government initiatives to support vulnerable victims of crime, including the 'Protecting you from sexual abuse: booklet about sexual abuse and the law for people with learning disabilities' booklet and 'The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime'.

2. 'The Code of Practice for Victims of Crime' provides an enhanced service for vulnerable victims, requiring the police to update victims about their case within one working day rather than the standard five.

3. The contents of 'Keep Safe' have been approved by the police, self-advocacy groups and organisations representing people with learning disabilities including Mencap, Voice UK, People First, People In Partnership (Hertfordshire) and London Consultative Group.

The Department for Transport, Disability Rights Commission, Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Victim Support and the Metropolitan Police Service have also contributed.

4. The language used in the booklet has been tailored to suit the needs of people with learning disabilities, in accordance with Mencap's guidelines to accessible writing.

5. 'Health and Social Care Information Centre NHS (2005) National Survey of Adults with Learning Difficulties 2003/04' involved interviews with 2,898 people with learning difficulties aged at least 16.

http:www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics/Publications/PublicationsStatistics/PublicationsStatisticsArticle/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4120033&chk=bf0FL5

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