All staff within health services have a responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of patients and colleagues.
Living a life that is free from harm and abuse is a fundamental human right of every person and an essential requirement for health and well-being. Safeguarding adults is about the safety and wellbeing of all patients, but providing additional measures for those least able to protect themselves from harm or abuse.
North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is committed to safeguarding the well-being of adults in receipt of services that it commissions.
As a member of the local Safeguarding Adults Board, North Central London CCG ensures that staff have appropriate policies, procedures, training and access to expert advice to ensure that adults at risk are identified and, where necessary, in receipt of appropriate protection.
What is an adult at risk?
An adult is defined in the Care Act 2014 as someone over 18 years old who has care and support needs: (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs) and:
- is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
- as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.
An adult at risk’s vulnerability is determined by a range of interconnected factors, including personal characteristics, factors associated with their situation or environment and social factors.
Abuse can happen anywhere including in someone’s home or a care home, a day centre or a hospital. Those responsible for abuse can be relatives, friends, neighbours, paid care workers, volunteers, professional staff and strangers. Some adults may be afraid to, or may be unable to tell anyone they are being abused.
Abuse may be a single event or repeated events or, as in the case of neglect, it may be a process going on over time. Abuse may occur as a result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance or as a result of a developed poor practice.
Domestic abuse is a term that is used to describe a wide range of violent and abusive behaviours. These include many forms of physical violence, but also include many forms of sexual abuse (including rape), emotional and psychological abuse and other varieties of abuse such as financial control and deprivation.
The Care and Support Statutory Guidance 2015 identifies types of abuse, but also emphasises that organisation should not limit their view of what constitutes abuse or neglect.
What to do if an adult is experiencing abuse and he/she tells you about it
If an adult experiencing abuse or neglect speaks to you about this:
- Assure them that you are taking them seriously.
- Listen carefully to what they are saying, assure them that you are taking them seriously, and get a clear and factual picture of the concern.
- Be honest and avoid making assurances that you may not be able to keep, for example: complete confidentiality
- Be clear and say that you need to report the abuse. Do not be judgmental and try to keep an open mind.
All staff (professionals and volunteers) of any service involved with adults at risk should inform the relevant manager if they are concerned that an adult has been abused or may be at risk of harm.
If you hear about an incident of abuse from a third party (this is when someone else tells you about what they have heard or seen happen to a vulnerable adult at risk), encourage them to report it themselves or help them to report the facts of what they know.
However, if the third party refuses to report the abuse then Haringey CCG staff must report it.