This policy statement is formulated in recognition that abuse of vulnerable adults is widespread, but frequently unrecognized in our society. Abuse can take place in any situation, care setting or hospital, as well as at home. Perpetration of abuse may be by someone in a position of trust, power or authority that uses his or her position to the detriment of the health, safety, or welfare and general well-being of a vulnerable person. The perpetrator may be a relative, friend or family member, or those charged with a voluntary or professional care role, another service user or a stranger.
The prevention of abuse of vulnerable adults is a collective responsibility of all sections of society. However, those agencies, professionals, independent sector organisations and voluntary groups working with, or in contact with vulnerable adults, hold a particular responsibility to ensure safe, effective services and to facilitate the prevention and early detection of abuse from whatever quarter, thus ensuring that appropriate protective action can be taken.
Project 6’s policy is to recognise that in the organisation’s work within the community, the safety and protection of all vulnerable adults is paramount.
The protection of vulnerable adults according to the terms of the National Care Standards Commission Adult Protection Protocol 2003 defines a vulnerable adult as:
· Someone aged 18 years or older.
· Who is or who may be in need of community care services by reason of a learning or physical disability, mental health issues, age or illness.
· Who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.
· Their situation may be complicated by additional factors such as frailty, chronic illness, sensory impairment, challenging behaviour, drug or alcohol issues, social or emotional issues, poverty or homelessness.
Other Project 6 Policies that must be read in conjunction with this policy are:
· Safeguarding – Child Protection (Working with Service Users Handbook)
· Data Protection (Project 6 Organisation Handbook)
· Confidentiality (Working with Service Users Handbook)
· Grievance /Disciplinary (Working for Project 6 Handbook)
· Whistle Blowing (Project 6 Organisation Handbook)
· Complaints Procedure (Working with Service Users Handbook)
· Recruitment and Selection Policy (Project 6 Organisation Handbook)
· Perform (Performance Management Handbook)
· Equality and Diversity (Working for Project 6 Handbook)
· Lone Working (Working with Service Users Handbook)
· Photography and Video (Project 6 Organisation Handbook)
Procedures and Practice (all staff and managers)
This policy will form part of the induction process and be made freely available to volunteers, users of the services, their families and to workers and professionals within the agency. Safeguarding training is provided to all Project 6 staff and refreshed on an annual basis.
This policy applies to actual or suspected incidents of abuse both past and present where:
· Disclosures of abuse are made by service users;
· Observations of abuse are made;
· A third party makes a disclosure about another individual e.g., a carer;
· Allegations of abuse are made against a staff member, volunteer, sessional worker or another service user or professional.
All accusations, and incidents will be taken seriously and acted upon immediately.
Project 6 has a responsibility for the well-being of vulnerable adults and a role to play in assisting the protection agencies by bringing cases to their attention.
Definitions of abuse (Physical, Sexual, Emotional, Neglect, Financial, Institutional and Discriminatory) are set out in the Local Adult Protection Procedures and area available in Appendix One. All staff must adhere to their Local Adult Protection Procedures and Project 6 will keep an accessible copy of the Local Adult Protection Procedures on the premises.
Assessing Mental Capacity in relation to Safeguarding Adults issues
A person is said to lack capacity if they are unable to make a particular decision at a specific time. This inability must be caused by an impediment or disturbance of the mind or brain, whether temporary or permanent.
In order to make a decision, the person needs to be able to:
· Absorb basic information about the pros and cons of an issue.
· Retain basic information for long enough to process it.
· Weigh up the pros and cons against their own value system and arrive at a decision.
· Communicate that decision.
It is imperative that a worker considers an adult’s mental capacity in relation to safeguarding issues as it heightens the potential of abuse, for example a person may not be able to absorb and weigh up the pros and cons of continuing to live with an abusive family member. Please see https://www.scie.org.uk/mca/practice/assessing-capacity/ for further information and guidance.
Project 6 workers may receive information that an Adult has been put at risk within one of the above categories.
The worker who receives this information, whether that information comes from a parent/carer, from a third party or from direct observation of an adult needs to elicit as complete a picture as possible. Initial enquiries by the worker need to ascertain:
· What happened.
· Who was present.
· Involvement by any other agency.
· Names, dates of birth, addresses of children involved.
Project 6 recognises that Social Services have primary responsibility for investigating suspected incidences of abuse and will not take steps to investigate the matter independently beyond these initial enquiries.
Any worker who has a suspicion or a concern that abuse may have taken place, or might take place if no preventative measures are taken, is an `Alerted Person'. The Alerted Person should discuss their concerns with their line manager immediately or in his/her absence with the Operations Director. It may be appropriate to share concerns with other colleagues within Project 6.
After discussions, either the member of staff or the manager will make one of the following decisions:
1. No further action is necessary. This would be because the risk or likelihood of harm to the adult or any further adults was not seen as significant.
2. To seek further general advice. This could be from the local social care team and could be in the form of general anonymised advice. It could be from the Local adult safeguarding team but this advice may not be allowed to remain anonymous and workers should be prepared to disclose the details they have.
3. Where a person is in immediate danger or in need of medical attention the appropriate emergency services will be called immediately.
Further consideration will be given to:
· The mental capacity of the person (see above).
· In some situations, a safe place may be needed for the vulnerable adult before an investigation can begin, such as residential care or an alternative placement.
· Where abuse may have taken place, the worker will ensure that the person has the protection and support they need at all times.
· In accordance with Project 6’s confidentiality, service users must be informed that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Project 6 has an obligation to safeguard all vulnerable adults. Failure to immediately report, any disclosures or suspicions of abuse may result in disciplinary action.
If the service user is present, they should be encouraged to refer themselves to Social Services; they should also be advised that Project 6 will be making a referral anyway whether or not the service user self-refers.
If the service user is not present, Project 6 will unilaterally make the referral and inform the service user of this as soon as possible.
Referrals made to the Adult Safeguarding Units will be made electronically via the local reporting forms: https://www.bradford.gov.uk/adult-social-care/adult-abuse/report-adult-abuse/ https://www.sheffield.gov.uk/content/sheffield/home/social-care/adult-abuse.html
A copy should be printed out prior to sending as it is not possible afterwards. A response time from social services should be agreed at referral. If no response has
been received within 48 hours, then this will be chased up with the unit that originally received the referral.
'Vulnerable Adult Protection Incident Reporting Form' should be completed.
Whether or not a referral is made to Social Services, a full and detailed recording must be made on the service user’s file as soon after the event as possible and in any case on the same day in question. The entry must be countersigned by the line manager on the same day.
Record accurately and in detail what has been said to you using the vulnerable adult's own words, and what action you have taken in the records relevant to your service.
· If there is any possibility that forensic evidence still exists, preserve it, do not clean it up.
· Information should only be shared on a `need to know' basis. However, disclosures of abuse may be requested to be made `in confidence' to a trusted member of staff. Sessional staff cannot agree to be bound by such a request.
· In recording what the person has said, facts must be clearly separated from opinion.
· The presence of witnesses to an incident must be recorded in detail.
· Information recorded by agencies must be available to the Adult Protection Investigation.
· Where an allegation concerns a member of staff (who may also be a colleague) it is still the clear duty of those concerned to report the matter.
· The worker should make sure that the service user is aware of their right to access their Project 6 file in accordance with Project 6 policy.
· Bradford District Council Safeguarding Adults Team – 01274 431077
· Bradford out of hours emergency duty team – 01274 431010
· Bradford Rape Crisis Line – 01274 308270
· Bradford Police Safeguarding Unit – 01274 376592
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Deputy Operations Director
Tel: 01535 610180
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Tel: 0114 2506986
· Sheffield City Council Safeguarding Adult Access 24/7 - 0114 2734908
· Sheffield Adult Safeguarding Partnership – 0114 2736870
· Sheffield Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 8082241
· Anti-terrorism hotline: 0800 789 321
Designated Safeguarding Lead
Families Together Manager
Tel: 0114 2506964
Deputy Designated Safeguarding Lead
Tel: 0114 2506986