If a person does not tell you but you suspect that they are being abused, you need to tell your manager You may want to talk to the person before you contact the relevent authorities. If you do this, bring the subject up sensitively by letting the person know that you are concerned about them and want to support them. Listen to them without being impatient or critical of them or their actions. Letting them talk and share their concerns is very important as it helps them to break the silence and know that they are not on their own. Getting involved does not mean that you have to solve the situation.
It can be very difficult supporting someone who is being abused as they may not make the decisions that you think they should. It is important that they make the decisions, not you or anyone else, unless the person does not have the mental capacity to do so, in which case you must act in their best interests. Your support will be important to them as they may have very little confidence and poor self esteem as a result of the abuse. Do not put yourself at risk. Always contact the appropriate person if you are concerned for the person’s immediate safety or if they in immediate danger but you are concerned about them.
What should you do if an individual tells you they have been abused?
When abuse has taken place you should stay calm and remain none judgmental. Put your own feelings aside and try and not communicate shock, disgust embarrassment or disbelief. You should also be supportive and stay close to the alleged victim immediately after the disclosure to provide some sense of physical security. Assure the individual that they did the rite thing by telling you about what happened. Never tell the alleged victim that you do believe them and ensure the individuals safety.
Ensure that the alleged abuser does not have access to the victim and assure the victim will stand by them in the process of getting help. Further more you should seek privacy if possible so the individual is protected from disclosing in public and listen closely if the victim wants to talk but do not ask questions beyond what is necessary to protect the victim and preserve evidence. You should report this to a senior or manager as soon as you have finished talking and made sure the victim is safe so that the nesscery action can be taken.
How to ensure abuse evidence is kept safe.
Evidence of abuse must be stored carefully to maintain the quality and integrity of the samples either in a locked room were only certain people have access to if on the computer it must be password locked if hand written it needs to be in a lockable cabinet any Clothing must be stored in an airtight manner. Photographs, as evidence should be printed on archival quality paper and locked away in a safe place. Always remember to sign and date your notes and any other records you have made.
Medical professionals such as GP, A&E staff, nurses, doctors: they can examine, diagnose & treat, they can record this can include photographic evidence. Social Services dept would carry out an assessment of needs, this would include any unpaid carer of individual. Safeguarding Team Police to investigate/prosecute, to work with other agencies, to provide support to victims, to raise awareness of crimes, crime prevention. Care Quality Commission to regulate & inspect care providers. CRB, to check an individuals past to see if they have any criminal convictions.
Courtney from Study Moose
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