A Worksop man and his pensioner mum who were the victims of verbal and physical abuse are backing a call for people to keep a look-out for the elderly in their community.
Stephen Smythe, 60, and his 87-year-old mother Joan were subject to eight months of abuse from their neighbours, which including verbal insults, threats and objects being thrown at them when they went into their front garden.
Stephen has a number of disabilities, including club feet that require him to use a mobility scooter, arthritis, a thyroid problem and diabetes.
Notts County Council’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding hub were made aware of the Smythes’ problem last year and worked with A1 Housing to move Stephen and Joan from the house to a two-bedroom bungalow in another area of Worksop last December.
Stephen said: “Our lives are 100 percent better now we are away from our old house – it is like living in a new world and me and Mum are much happier.”
“It got so bad I thought about taking an overdose and the stress of the abuse made my medical problems even worse.”
“Now I can go out and not worry about my mum and I’m sharing my experiences with social workers at the county council as part of their training so they can respond to similar cases in the future.”
Since coming into contact with the county council he now also receives support from a social worker and has daily visits from a carer to help him with personal care.
“For so long me and Mum struggled on in silence – I didn’t realise the help that was available,” Stephen added.
There were 1,949 reports of abuse amongst the over 65s referred in 2014, 1,273 of which required a full investigation. Across Bassetlaw, there were 256 reports of abuse amongst the over 65s, 157 went onto a full investigation.
Coun Muriel Weisz, chair of Notts County Council’s adult social care and health committee, said: “Abuse can be in many forms, whether it be physical, sexual, financial or through neglect, and unfortunately many older victims suffer in silence.
“We are urging Nottinghamshire residents to keep an eye on older relatives, friends and neighbours and contact us if you have any suspicions that they are being abused in anyway.”
Don Spittlehouse, managing director at A1 Housing said: “We’re thrilled that Stephen and his mother are settled in their new home and they are now able to live a life without the threat of abuse and anti-social behaviour.”
“We hope Stephen and his mother continue to enjoy their new surroundings.”
People who have concerns about an adult being abused should contact the county council on 0300 500 80 80.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was held on Monday 15th June.
For more information visit www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/abuse.