Protection of Vulnerable Adults Policy
The characteristics of adult abuse can take a number of forms and cause victims to suffer pain, fear and distress reaching well beyond the time of the actual incident(s). Victims may be too afraid or embarrassed to raise any complaint. They may be reluctant to discuss their concerns with other people or unsure who to trust or approach with their worries.
There may be some situations where victims are unaware that they are being abused or have difficulty in communicating this information to others.
Aim of Policy
The aim of this policy is to ensure the safety of vulnerable adults by outlining clear procedures and ensuring that all staff members are clear about their responsibilities.
A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited.
This may include a person who:
Is elderly and frail
Has a mental illness including dementia
Has a physical or sensory disability
Has a learning disability
Has a severe physical illness
Is a substance misuser
What is abuse?
Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons. It can take a number of forms:
§ Physical abuse e.g. hitting, pushing, shaking, inappropriate restraint, force-feeding, forcible administration of medication, neglect or abandonment
§ Sexual abuse e.g. involvement in any sexual activity against his/her will, exposure to pornography, voyeurism and exhibitionism
§ Emotional/psychological abuse e.g. intimidation or humiliation
§ Financial abuse e.g. theft or exerting improper pressure to sign over money from pensions or savings etc.
§ Neglect or acts of omission e.g. being left in wet or soiled clothing, or malnutrition
§ Discriminatory abuse e.g. racial, sexual or religious harassment
§ Personal exploitation – involves denying an individual his/her rights or forcing him/her to perform tasks that are against his/her will
§ Violation of rights e.g. preventing an individual speaking his/her thoughts and opinions
§ Institutional abuse e.g. failure to provide a choice of meals or failure to ensure privacy or dignity
If the allegation or suspicion of abuse is discovered by a member of staff/facilitator then they should inform a director as soon as possible.
The director will then make a written record of the allegation or suspicion of abuse and discuss the situation with another director before speaking to professionals.
If a facilitator/staff member has been told about the allegation of abuse in confidence, they should attempt to gain the consent of the victim to make a referral to another agency. However, the gaining of the consent is not essential in order for information to be passed on. Consideration needs to be given to:
§ The scale of the abuse
§ The risk of harm to others
§ The capacity of the victim to understand the issues of abuse and consent
If there is any doubt about whether or not to report an issue to Social Services then it should be reported.
In emergency situations (e.g. where there is the risk or occurrence or severe physical injury), where immediate action is needed to safeguard the health or
safety of the individual or anyone else who may be at risk, the emergency services must be contacted.
Where a crime is taking place, has just occurred or is suspected, the police must be contacted immediately.
All members of staff/facilitators have a responsibility to be aware of this policy and to report any suspicions that they might have concerning adult abuse.
Newly recruited staff who have contact with clients must pass a DBS check.
§ Social Services
§ Adult Protection – Principal Officer
This policy is informed by, and adheres, to The African Families in the UK (CIC) Adult Protection Policy and Procedures, and to the following legislation:
NHS and Community Care Act 1990
Mental Health Act 1983
Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
Care Standards Act 2000