Principles of safeguarding and protection in health and social care
This booklet is designed to be used as a reminder and reference for people who work in the care profession
The following are all types of abuse and their definition.
Physical abuse: hitting, slapping, kicking.
Sexual abuse: unwanted advances, indecent exposure, harassment of a sexual nature. Emotional/psychological abuse: intimidation, blaming.
Financial abuse: misappropriation of monies/funds, not giving correct change. Institutional abuse: where a person is not treated as an individual. Neglect: inadequate care, denial of basic rights
• Injuries that are the shape of objects.
• Injuries in a variety of stages or injuries that have not received medical attention.
• A person being taken to many different places to receive medical attention.
• Dehydration or unexplained weight changes or medication being lost.
• Behaviour that indicates that the person is afraid or avoiding the perpetrator.
• Change of behavior and personality.
• Sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy.
• Tears or bruises in genital/anal areas.
• Soreness when sitting.
• Signs that someone is trying to take control of their body image, for example,anorexia, bulimia or self-harm.
• Sexualised behavior.
• Inappropriately dressed.
• Difficulty gaining access to the service user on their own.
• The adult not getting access to medical care or appointments with other agencies.
• Low self-esteem or lack of confidence and anxiety.
• Increased levels of confusion.
• Increased urinary or fecal incontinence.
• Sleep disturbance.
• The person feeling/acting as if they are being watched all of the time.
• Decreased ability to communicate.
• language being used that is not usual for the service user.
• Deference/submission to the perpetrator.
• Sudden loss of assets.
• Unusual or inappropriate financial transactions.
• Visitors whose visits always coincide with the day a person’s benefits are cashed.
• Insufficient food in the house. Essential equipement not provided or removed
• Bills not being paid.
• A sense that the person is being tolerated in the house due to the income they bring in; sometimes with that person not included in the activities the rest of the family enjoys.
• treating adults like children.
• arbitrary decision making by staff group, service or organization.
• strict, regimented or inflexible routines or schedules for daily activities such as meal times, bed / awakening times, bathing / washing, going to the toilet.
• lack of choice or options, such as food and drink, dress, possessions, daily activities and social activities.
• lack of privacy, dignity, choice or respect for people as individuals.
• unsafe or unhygienic environment.
• lack of provision for dress, diet or religious observance in accordance with an individual’s belief or cultural background.
• withdrawing people from individually valued community or family contact.
Neglect by others (or self)
• Rapid or continuous weight loss.
• Not having access to necessary physical aides.
• Inadequate or inappropriate clothing.
• Untreated medical problems.
• Dirty clothing/bedding.
• Lack of personal care.
The correct course of action if you suspect an individual is being abused.
If you suspect a service user in your care is being abused, you should report it immediately to your manager verbally and ensure the safety of the service user was paramount. Your manager has the responsibility to investigate and assess the suspicion of abuse. Your company policies and procedures should define what actions to take, and it is your responsibility to follow them, to ensure safety of your service users. All employees have a duty of care to report any concerns of abuse they have. These might include evidence or suspicions of bad practice by colleagues and managers (whistleblowing), or abuse by another service user, staff or their family and friends.
The correct actions to take if an idividual tells you they are being abused.
The key things to do when an individual discloses abuse is: Assume the person is telling the truth. Speak to them in a clam and sensitive way. Listen carefully and make sure you record what was said. If the person needs medical attention you would call the emergency service or call a doctor as appropriate, and inform your line manager immediately, or another senior person. If this is a criminal matter i.e. an alleged assault, rape or indecent exposure, call the police, if a senior was not on duty/available to do so.
How to ensure that any evidence of abuse is kept safe
It is important to record everything that has been said or disclosed, in the event of alleged abuse, include date/time, and sign it. This is because the information needs to be accurate, in case it is to be used in a legal investigation or proceedings. The written record should be stored in a secure place, for safety and to prevent others from seeing its content. If the alleged abuse is of sexual nature, it is advisable to ask the victim of abuse not to ‘wash’ themselves, or dispose of any clothing, as they may be contaminating/disposing vital evidence of the alleged abuse. This evidence could be used to convict the abuser, and uphold the allegation.
The national policies that set out requirements for safeguarding individuals
Safeguarding vulnerable adults’ policy.
Protection of Vulnerable Adults.
In Safe Hands.
Organisational safeguarding policy.
GSCC (General Social Care Council) Codes of Practice.
Local and organisational systems for safeguarding
Employer/organisational policies and procedures
Multi-agency adult protection arrangements for a locality
Local authority practice
The roles of different agencies and professionals that are involved in safeguarding individuals
Safeguarding Adults Board
An interagency forum, which promotes the protection of vulnerable adults from abusive behavior and practice.
Independent Safeguarding Authority
Created to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults, and work with:
Criminal Records Bureau
An agency which checks to see if people wishing to work with children or vulnerable adults have a criminal record.
Sources of advice, support and information to help social care workers understand their own role in safeguarding
Your employer has own policies relating to abuse, whistle blowing etc. Your line manager will help these and should be approached. These policies are my working documents as they inform my practice on how to meet my responsibilities whilst performing my role. However, there are local and national policies relating to abuse, which also have to be condered.