County Councils aims to expose the problem of financial bullying abuse

THE ‘hidden problem’ of financial abuse of adults is being highlighted in a new campaign running in Rother.

The issue is an increasing concern in the two areas, which account for more than half of investigations in East Sussex but many people are reluctant to report abuse, particularly if the perpetrator is someone they know.

Victims, most of whom are aged 65 or over, might notice money missing from their purse or entries on their bank statement they don’t recognise, or feel pressured to pay for things for someone else or to make changes to their will.

To highlight the problem and encourage more people to report their concerns, East Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board is running a series of public events, handing out promotional items and organising an information day for professionals.

Board chairman Keith Hinkley said: “Financial abuse can take many forms, and is not always carried out by a stranger - it could be a family member or someone you know.

“People may find it difficult to report their concerns, particularly if the abuse is being carried out by someone close to them, meaning it often remains a hidden problem.

“It’s very important people realise that if something doesn’t seem to add up, they can get in touch with us for confidential support and advice, whether it’s something that’s happened once or is a growing concern.

“Sometimes problems come from a simple misunderstanding, or someone not knowing that what they’re doing is not right.

“When someone gets in touch we talk through their concerns in confidence and explain the options available to them, but we won’t take any action without asking their permission first.”

To highlight the problem, public events are being held at Priory Meadow Shopping Centre, in Hastings, on Tuesday, November 26 from 8.45am to 5.30pm, Sainsbury’s, in Buckhurst Place, Bexhill, on Tuesday, December 3 from 10am to noon and Budgen’s, in Station Approach, Rye, on Wednesday, December 4 from 10am to noon.

Anyone with concerns about financial abuse can contact Adult Social Care Direct by calling 0345 6080191, text to 07797 878111, use the Minicom service on 01323 466630 or email socialcaredirect@eastsussex.gov.uk.