Adults at risk policy
SHE UK is committed to ensuring the protection of all Adults at Risk with whom it has
1.1 The aim of this policy is to establish a SHE UK approach to the protection of
adults at risk, in order to:
• Identify adults at risk who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm
• Ensure appropriate action to preserve their safety at SHE UK and elsewhere
1.2 This policy is to be read in conjunction with our Confidentiality; Anti-Bullying; Disciplinary; Equality & Diversity, Whistleblowing policies plus the SHE UK staff handbook. Please note there is a separate Safeguarding Children policy.
2.1 This policy applies to all staff (paid and unpaid) and visitors working in SHE UK
locations and off-site, or with members in placements with other agencies or
2.2 This policy covers observation of abuse, allegation, disclosure or suspicion of
abuse or an expression of concern about abuse.
- Definition of terms
3.1 To assist working through and understanding this policy a number of key
definitions need to be explained:
3.1.1 Adult at Risk is a person aged 18 or over who is in need of care and supportregardless of whether they are receiving them, and because of those needs, might be unable to protect themselves against abuse or neglect. In recent years there has been a marked shift away from using the term ‘vulnerable’ to describe adults potentially at risk from harm or abuse.
3.1.2 Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by another person or persons. See section 5 for further explanations.
3.1.3 Adult is anyone aged 18 or over.
3.1.4 Adult safeguarding is protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
3.1.5 Capacity refers to the ability to make a decision at a particular time, for example when under considerable stress. The starting assumption must always be that a person has the capacity to make a decision unless it can be established that they lack capacity (MCA 2005).
- Types of Abuse and Neglect - Definitions from the Care Act 2014
4.1 This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but an illustrative guide as to the sort of behaviour or issue which could give rise to a safeguarding concern.
4.1.2 Self-neglect – this covers a wide range of behaviour: neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.
4.1.3 Modern Slavery – encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.
4.1.4 Domestic Abuse – including psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse. It also includes so called 'honour' based violence.
4.1.5 Discriminatory – discrimination is abuse which centres on a difference or perceived difference particularly with respect to race, gender or disability or any of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act.
4.1.6 Organisational Abuse – including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and
practices within an organisation.
4.1.7 Physical Abuse – includes hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions.
4.1.8 Sexual Abuse – including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.
4.1.9 Financial or Material Abuse – including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
4.1.10 Neglect – 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.
4.1.11 Emotional or Psychological Abuse – this includes threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.
4.2 Not included in the Care Act 2014 but also relevant:
4.2.1 Cyber Bullying - cyber bullying occurs when someone repeatedly makes fun of another person online or repeatedly picks on another person through emails or text messages, or uses online forums with the intention of harming, damaging, humiliating or isolating another person. It can be used to carry out many different types of bullying (such as racist bullying, homophobic bullying, or bullying related to special educational needs and disabilities) but instead of the perpetrator carrying out the bullying face-to-face, they use technology as a means to do it.
4.2.2 Forced Marriage - forced marriage is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties are married without their consent or against their will. A forced marriage differs from an arranged marriage, in which both parties consent to the assistance of a third party in identifying a spouse. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 make it a criminal offence to force someone to marry.
4.2.3 Mate Crime - a ‘mate crime’ as defined ‘when vulnerable people are befriended by members of the community who go on to exploit and take advantage of them. It may not be an illegal act but still has a negative effect on the individual.’ Mate Crime is carried out by someone the adult knows and often happens in private.
4.2.4 Radicalisation - the aim of radicalisation is to attract people to their reasoning, inspire new recruits and embed their extreme views and persuade vulnerable individuals of the legitimacy of their cause. This may be direct through a relationship, or through social media.
4.2.5 Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) - is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed, but there's no medical reason for this to be done. It's also known as female circumcision or cutting, and by other terms, such as sunna, gudniin, halalays, tahur, megrez and khitan, among others.
4.2.6 Grooming - Grooming is when someone builds a relationship, trust and emotional connection with a child or vulnerable person so they can manipulate, exploit and abuse them.
- Signs and indicators of abuse and neglect
5.1 Abuse can take place in any context and by all manner of perpetrator. There are many signs and indicators that may suggest someone is being abused or neglected, these include but are not limited to:
5.1.1 Unexplained bruises or injuries – or lack of medical attention when an injury is present.
5.1.2 Person has belongings or money going missing.
5.1.3 Person is not attending / no longer enjoying their sessions/absent from work. Someone losing or gaining weight / an unkempt appearance.
5.1.5 A change in the behaviour or confidence of a person.
5.1.6 They may self-harm.
5.1.7 They may have a fear of a particular group or individual.
5.1.8 They may tell you / another person they are being abused – i.e. a disclosure.
6.1 All staff (paid and unpaid) working within SHE UK are responsible for the operation of this policy:
The Designated Adult at Risk protection officer for SHE UK is the Operations Manager. In the event this person is unavailable, please refer to the Chief Executive.
All staff (paid and unpaid) have a duty to report any disclosure, allegation or suspicion of abuse, to the Designated Adult at Risk protection officer. This must be done immediately after the disclosure/allegation/suspicion is made/arises.
If you are concerned someone is in immediate danger, contact the police straight away by calling 999.
The Designated Adult at Risk protection officer has a duty to make a referral to the relevant Local Authority Safeguarding Team (L.A.S.T) or Multidisciplinary Adult Safeguarding Hub (M.A.S.H) whenever:
There is reason to suspect that an Adult at Risk is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, or An allegation, disclosure or suspicion of abuse or an expression of concern about abuse is made
6.1.5 The Designated Adult at Risk protection officer will make every effort to attend any strategy or professionals’ meetings to which SHE UK is invited or may ask an appropriate colleague to attend on their behalf.
The Designated Adult at Risk protection officer is responsible for ensuring that any actions agreed at such meetings are progressed and followed up.
We will ensure that the person is part of the decision-making process in line with ‘Making Safeguarding Personal’ – this is on the premise of having conversations with people about how we might respond in safeguarding situations to enhance involvement of the person – working alongside a person as an expert in their own lives notwithstanding our duty of care.
6.2 The consent of the abused person should be sought before a referral to the L.A.S.T is made. However, there may be circumstances where there is a need to overrule their wishes. For example:
• If the person is not able to make an informed choice or where this is uncertain
• If the adult at risk or others affected by the situation are in a life-threatening situation
• If the adult at risk or other people are otherwise at risk
• If a crime has been committed
• A minor is at risk
Any decision to overrule the wishes of the abused person should be recorded on the Referral Form, with the reasons for such a decision, and a copy should be kept in the SHE UK Adults at Risk Protection File, held by the Chief Executive. This will be explained to the person.
In cases where the abused person wishes to self-refer to the Local Authority, the matter must still be referred to the Designated Adult at Risk protection officer who should accordingly refer the matter to the L.A.S.T regardless of the individual’s decision to self-refer.
6.5 The Designated Adult at Risk protection officer has a duty to seek advice from the L.A.S.T if unsure as to whether a referral is appropriate.
6.6 The welfare of the person concerned, including the welfare of any other Adult at Risk or children who may be at risk, must always take precedence over confidentiality. Therefore, these procedures must be followed, irrespective of any request to maintain confidentiality.
6.7 All Designated Adult at Risk protection officers, including those who may in certain circumstances be required to perform this function, must be provided with appropriate staff development by attending training regularly.
6.8 The CEO will ensure the criminal background of applicants for vacant posts (paid or unpaid) are checked via the Disclosure & Barring Service at the relevant check level depending on the role.
6.9 All staff (paid and unpaid) working with SHE UK must be given a copy of the Adults at Risk Protection Policy immediately upon starting work with us.
6.10 The Board of Trustees will be provided with a Case Summary following each incident with no identifying details included in support of confidentiality and data protection.
6.11 Support for you (the reporting staff member): Being party to something which gives you cause for concern about an individual’s welfare is often distressing especially if you are not sure what to do with your concerns. The Safeguarding Lead or a nominated team member will provide initial support and, if you wish, signposting to services which can provide you with longer term support as well as handling any further action to safeguard a child or vulnerable adult.
- Allegations against staff:
7.1 There may be occasions where the allegations against SHE UK staff or volunteers concern an adult at risk.
This may include but is not restricted to where a member of staff or a volunteer has:
Behaved in a way that has harmed, or may have harmed, an adult at risk
Possibly committed a criminal offence against or related to an adult at risk
Behaved towards any adult at risk in a way that indicates s/he is unsuitable to work with adults at risk
These include concerns relating to inappropriate relationships between members of staff and an adult at risk they are working with such as:
having a sexual relationship with an adult at risk if in a position of trust even if the relationship appears consensual
the sending of inappropriate text/e-mail messages or images, providing gifts, socialising
Possession of indecent photographs/pseudo-photographs of adults at risk
If a crime is suspected a report must always be made to the police.
Where there is a safeguarding concern about an adult at risk relating to an allegation to a member of staff or a volunteer then the Safeguarding Adults at Risk of Abuse Policy and Procedure must also be followed.
7.2 Any individual, who has a concern of an Adult at Risk Protection nature, relating to a member of staff, must report the matter at the earliest opportunity to the Designated Adult at Risk protection officer.
7.3 Procedures must be followed whenever a member of staff is observed to subject or is accused of subjecting an Adult at Risk to any abusive behaviour.
7.4 If any individual is unhappy that their concerns are not being taken seriously within SHE UK, or the concern is about the Designated Adult at Risk Protection Officer, they should refer directly to the Chief Executive. If the issue is concerning the Chief Executive, the individual should refer to the Board of Trustees.