Commenting on the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill now being scrutinised by the National Assembly, Age Cymru’s Policy Advisor Amy Clifton says:
“This new legislation must deliver real benefits for older people in Wales, and while Age Cymru welcomes many aspects of the Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Bill, as it stands, it does not go far enough.
“Age Cymru want to see advocacy services provided as a right to adults at risk of abuse.
“One of our main concerns, and that of many other charities - is that the Bill does not enforce the need to provide this vital advice service to all adults at risk of abuse.
“Advocacy services provide a vital service for people who are unable to, or find it difficult to speak up for themselves.
“Trained independent advocates enable and empower people to make informed choices and navigate through the complexities of the care system.
“Age Cymru’s Rule Out Abuse campaign calls for legislation to safeguard adults at risk and strengthen adult protection processes, so that tackling adult abuse is given the priority it deserves.
“We are pleased the Welsh Government has committed to do so and has accepted many of the campaign’s recommendations with new duties on public bodies.
“However we believe the safeguarding commitments could be further strengthened, and the omission of access to independent advocacy for adults at risk is potentially a missed opportunity to tackle abuse.
“Adults at risk of harm are amongst the most vulnerable, disenfranchised members of our communities in Wales, and we must ensure that they have a voice and are safeguarded from abuse.
“This is why Age Cymru strongly urges the Welsh Government to rectify this omission in order to meet the Bill’s vision of ‘[giving] citizens of Wales a strong voice and greater control over their lives’.“