Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Policy.
Aim of this Policy.
The aim of this policy is to outline,the practice and procedures for ISAB members, staff and volunteers to contribute to,preventing abuse of adults at risk, to raise awareness, and provide a clear framework for action,when abuse or poor practice is suspected.
The policy covers all ISAB members, staff and volunteers whose role involves,regular contact with service users,who may by definition be considered adults at risk. Healthwatch Kingston Upon Hull considers it the duty of ISAB members, staff and volunteers to protect vulnerable adults,with whom they come into contact,from abuse and poor practice.
We have obligations to strive to protect adults at risk,when we believe they are at risk of abuse or are being abused,or at risk of abuse and ensure we work in partnership with other agencies.
We will also ensure that when we witness abuse, are told about abuse occurring,or receive concerns about safeguarding, we will pass this on to the,Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) and,or the police within 24 hours of the abuse coming to light.
Adult at Risk:
‘An adult aged 18 years or over,who is or may be in need of community care services,by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to,take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself,against significant harm or exploitation.’
A vulnerable adult may therefore be a person who:
- Is elderly and frail due to ill health, physical disability or cognitive impairment.
- Has a learning disability.
- Has a physical disability and/or sensory impairment.
- Has mental health needs including dementia.
- Has a long term illness or condition.
- Is a carer such as a family member or friend,who provides personal assistance,and care to adults and is subject to harm.
- Is unable to demonstrate the capacity,to make a decision,and is in need of care and support.
- Suffers from either a temporary,or permanent impairment.
This does not mean that all elderly, frail individuals are “at risk”. In the context of safeguarding adults, the vulnerability of the adult at risk,is related to how able they are to make,and exercise their own informed choices free from duress, coercion or undue influence of any sort, and to protect themselves from harm, neglect and exploitation. This applies to people with or without mental capacity.
‘Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human,and civil rights by any other person or persons.’
Abuse may be a single act or repeated acts. No Secrets recognises six categories of abuse:
- Physical abuse: including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint, or inappropriate sanctions.
- Sexual abuse: including rape and sexual assault,or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented, or could not consent or was pressured into consenting.
- Psychological abuse: including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.
- Financial or material abuse: including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse,or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
- Neglect and acts of omission: including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
- Discriminatory abuse: including racist, sexist, that based on a person’s disability, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.
- Institutional abuse: Neglect and poor professional practice,may take the form of isolated incidents,of poor or unsatisfactory practice, at the one end of the spectrum ,through to pervasive ill treatment,or gross misconduct at the other. Repeated instances of poor care,may be an indication of more serious problems,and this is sometimes referred to as institutional abuse.
Responsibilities of Directors, Staff and Volunteers.
Healthwatch Board Directors, paid staff and volunteers,have a responsibility to be aware and alert to signs,that all is not well with a vulnerable person, and to undertake training to raise awareness,of safeguarding issues and reporting procedures. However, they are not responsible for diagnosing, investigating or providing a therapeutic response to abuse. In addition, not all concerns relate to abuse, there may well be other explanations. It is important to keep an open mind,and consider what is known about the vulnerable person,and his or her circumstances. It is also important to consider,the wishes of the person concerned; however the potential risk to others,may need to take precedent over their wishes.
Procedures to follow when a concern is identified.
This section describes the processes,which must be followed when dealing with an allegation,and or disclosure, suspicion or concern about harm,of an adult at risk. These procedures must be followed whoever raises an alert, or is involved in the safeguarding process.
There are various stages to be followed,within the adult safeguarding procedure, these are:
- Witnessing abuse or being told about abuse.
- Alerting (within an organisation)
- Contacting the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Team before referring.
- Referring (if advised to by the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Team) who will investigate,and take any appropriate action.
Anyone may receive an initial disclosure,of abuse from an adult at risk, or may witness abuse of an adult at risk. The protection of the adult,must always be the main priority.
If someone discloses information to you,about potential abuse, or you witness abuse,the following steps may be helpful:
- Remain calm and non-judgemental.
- Take whatever action is required to ensure,the immediate safety or medical welfare of the adult
- Do not discourage from disclosure.
- Remain attentive and be sensitive,to what they are saying.
- Give assurance, but do not press for more detail.
- Do not make any promises that cannot be kept.
- Clarify the main facts, summarising what has been disclosed to you.
- Explain that you cannot keep information confidential,and that you will need to inform,the Healthwatch Delivery Manager.
- Seek the persons consent,to share this information.
- Offer future support from yourself or others (keyworker and advocate)
- Take all reasonable steps,to ensure that the adult,is in no immediate danger of further harm.
- Make a complete,and accurate record of events as soon as possible.
- Record all the facts, using the persons own words, sign and date the record.
- If appropriate and the person has capacity,keep the adult at risk informed,throughout the process.
Following all the above steps,you should now tell the Healthwatch Delivery Manager.
If you are the manager,or person responsible for making a referral, contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub,to discuss this before making the referral.
It is the Healthwatch Delivery Manager’s responsibility to check that:
- The adult’s immediate needs are being met,and that there is no risk of further harm.
- If necessary, medical assistance has been sought.
- The facts and circumstances are clear,and have been clearly recorded.
- A report has been made to the Police,if a criminal offence is suspected or alleged.
The Manager must then do the following:
- Assess whether the victim is able to give consent (see below)
- Make a referral,if advised to by the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Team, using their referral form.
- Report the alleged abuse within 24 hours,to Social Services or the Police, or the out of hour’s team,using the contact details below.
- Ensure that you continue to keep a clear,and accurate record at all times.
- For regulated settings inform the CQC of the incident.
Referring is placing information,about the concern of harm into,the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs procedure,using their referral form. The person who is first alerted to the concern,should pass the information to the Healthwatch Delivery Manager,who may then complete the referral form. All reports of potential or suspected abuse,or harm of an adult at risk,should be referred so that a discussion,can be held with a member of,the Safeguarding Adult Team at the Local Authority.
Remember – preserve evidence and record.
Be mindful of diluting information, the content of the incident,should be completed by the witness; all other information could be completed by another.
A decision will be made at this stage,as to whether the safeguarding adults procedure,is appropriate to address the concern.
Contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub on 01482 616092 – ask for the adults safeguarding team duty officer or 01482 300304 – after 5:00pm or during weekends
If you feel there is,an immediate risk to an individual ring 999
Mental Capacity and Consent.
People have the right,to make decisions about their own lives, presuming mental capacity. They may choose to live with risk or make decisions,that others believe to be unwise. This means adults at risk are entitled,to accept or decline support in relation to,their own safety and wellbeing, including actions within these procedures.
Mental capacity should be presumed. It is time and decision specific. Being able to give consent,to a safeguarding investigation,is an important consideration. Sometimes it will be necessary to act,contrary to a persons expressed wishes, for example:
- The person lacks mental capacity,to consent to the form being sent,to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub,and a decision is made to investigate in the persons best interests (MCA 2005)
- The person is being unduly influenced or intimidated, to the extent that they are unable to give consent.
- Where it is in the public’s interest,to balance the rights of the individual to privacy,with the rights of others to protection
Confidentiality is central to our work, and the attention of all.
Directors, staff and volunteers are drawn to the Confidentiality Policy.