1.1 There can be no secrets or hiding place when it comes to exposing the abuse of vulnerable adults and children. In recent years several incidents have demonstrated the need for immediate action to ensure vulnerable adults and children who are at risk of abuse, receive protection and support. The Government gives a high priority to such action and sees local statutory agencies and other relevant agencies as important partners in ensuring such action is taken wherever needed.
1.2 The Government’s aim is to create a framework for action within which all responsible agencies work together to ensure a coherent policy for the protection of vulnerable adults and children at risk of abuse and a consistent and effective response to any circumstances giving ground for concern.
1.3 Helping Our Future believes that all people have the right to live their lives free from abuse and is committed to responding to allegations of abuse of a child or vulnerable adult.
2.1 The purpose of this Safeguarding Policy is to ensure that Helping Our Future employees and its stakeholders play their part in preventing, identifying and reporting abuse. The policy and procedures apply to all employees including permanent, part-time and temporary staff, agency employees and volunteers.
2.2 This policy and the associated procedures cover abuse of vulnerable adults and children who are users to our services by anyone in a relationship of trust with them – friends, relatives, support staff, housing or homelessness staff etc. Sometimes an act between service user and service user will also come within the scope of these procedures because of the vulnerability of the victim and the nature of the act.
2.3 For the purpose of this policy a vulnerable adult is defined as a person aged over 18 and: “Who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation”. (No Secrets 2000 DOH)
A child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday. (Children Acts 1989 and 2004)
2.4 Abuse is the violation of an individual’s human rights. It can be a single act or repeated acts. It can be physical, sexual, emotional, financial or discriminatory. It also includes acts of neglect or an omission to act. (LordChancellor 1997)
For a more detail please refer to Appendix 1.
3.1 This is an area of practice which requires local partnerships working between statutory agencies to create a framework of inter-agency agreements. This policy and the supporting procedures have been developed to this effect; as such Helping Our Future agrees to:
4.1 The State’s role in safeguarding is to provide the vision and direction and ensure that the legal framework, including powers and duties is clear and proportionate. There are two strands of relevant law: protection and prevention. Currently there is no specific legislation for protecting vulnerable adults as there is for children, since the law generally assumes that adults are responsible for their own actions.
4.2 However, protection is available through criminal and civil courts, both to prevent a person being abused and to take action against the abuser. Comparatively little use has been made of the law regarding abuse and there can also be difficulties in obtaining sufficiently reliable evidence from witnesses. Helping Our Future will ensure that any safeguarding reports or referrals are supported by a robust and systematic audit trail.
4.3 Vulnerable adults and children are protected in the same way as any other person against criminal acts. Thus if a person commits theft, rape or assault against a vulnerable adult or child hey should be dealt with through the criminal justice system, in the same way as in cases involving any other victim.
4.4 The policy and procedures have due regard for all relevant statutes and guidance. These are detailed in full in Appendix 2.
5.1 Other policies and procedures may also be invoked in the protection of vulnerable adults and children; these include but are not limited to:
7.1 These principles will be translated into outcomes and checked through an audit process.
8.1 All Helping our Future employees have a responsibility for reporting suspected or observed abuse. Helping Our Future will issue employees with concern cards that can be completed when an employee is concerned that a user, member of their family or household is being abused or is at risk of abuse; based on the definitions and indicators set out in Appendix 1 of this policy. The Concern Cards can be used anonymously.
8.2 Concern cards will be submitted to an Alerting Manager at the earliest opportunity, but no later than 24 hours after suspecting/observing abuse; the Alerting Manager will then progress the concern using the prescribed procedures.
8.3 It is Helping Our Future policy that staff will ensure that they maintain their own safety as a priority. In situations of immediate danger, staff are instructed to leave the accommodation/site and contact the relevant emergency service; in most instances this is likely to be the police or ambulance service.
8.4 Helping Our Future will support a ‘common sense’ approach to reporting abuse. Staff will be expected to listen their ‘gut feeling’ and trust their instincts. The training provided to staff will recognise that:
9.1 The Role of Board Members
Board Members are accountable for Helping Our Future and therefore all safeguarding within the organisation. They must also approve the Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults and Children Policy, as well as all associated procedures.
9.2 The Role of the Board Member Safeguarding Champion
The role of the Safeguarding Champion is primarily to advocate for vulnerable adults and children in relevant matters brought before the Board.
9.3 The Role of the Chief Executive
The Chief Executive is accountable to the Board for safeguarding within the organisation and ensuring a clear framework for the management accountability for safeguarding.
9.4 The Role of the Executive Management Group
The Executive Management Group (EMG) is accountable to the Chief Executive for safeguarding within their departments and for:
9.5 The Role of All Helping Our Future Staff
All Helping Our Future staff are responsible for raising suspected or observed abuse using the Concern Card procedures.
9.6 The Role of the Alerting Manager
However ‘minor’, all allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and documented by the Alerting Manager using the Incident Report Form and referred to the appropriate body, such as the Local Authority or the Police.
If a vulnerable adult does not want a referral to be made by the Alerting Manager, then their wishes should be honoured unless:-
All allegations/disclosures of abuse of a child will be referred by the Alerting Manager to the appropriate body.
The responsible Alerting Manager will:
10.1 Use of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults and Children procedures (including use of the Concern Card) will be covered in the Induction Training of all staff and Board Members.
10.2 An e-learning module on Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults and Children will be completed by all staff and a record of this will be made by the Human Resources Team.
10.3 More detailed training will be provided for all Alerting Managers, support staff and those who monitor the service or take part in Case Conferences.
11.1 Every effort will be made to ensure that staff, students and volunteers recruited to work for Helping Our Future are suitable to do so. Those who are responsible for appointing staff will be trained in safe recruitment practices.
11.2 All references will be robustly scrutinised and other checks sought at the appropriate level, e.g. the Disclosure and Barring Service.
12.1 Confidentiality will be maintained for all concerned in the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults, including those who report a concern/incident. The identity of the person reporting a concern/incident will not be disclosed by Helping Our Future or external agencies to the alleged perpetrator. All information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only.
12.2 Where a staff member is approached regarding an allegation, issues of confidentiality will be clarified early in the discussion. The person should be informed that the staff member will at the very least, have to disclose the conversation to the Alerting Manager and depending on the severity of the information may be disclosed to Social Care services or the Police.
12.3 There may be occasions where a child or vulnerable adult expresses a wish for concerns not to be pursued.
12.4 With regard to vulnerable adults, decisions about whether to respect the persons’ wishes must have regard to the level of risk to the individual and/or others and their capacity to understand the decision in questions and to make decisions relating to it. In some circumstances the persons’ wishes may be overridden in favour of consideration of safety for the person and the safety of others.
12.5 With regard to children, all concerns will be referred to the Alerting Manager.
13.1 If, under the Safeguarding procedures, allegations are raised against employees, these would be dealt with in accordance with Helping Our Futures’ disciplinary procedure. If allegations of inappropriate conduct towards children or vulnerable adults are upheld, this may result in the dismissal of the employee of the grounds of gross misconduct. Any
allegations against staff will also be reported to the appropriate statutory agencies this may lead to criminal prosecution and investigation.
14.1 The Alerting Manager will:
14.2 The Directors of causes will jointly produce a 6 monthly anonymised report for EMT and the Board, outlining the data and information collected.
14.3 EMG will review the learning from referrals made on a six monthly basis, making recommendations to the Board for any changes in policy, procedure or practice required.
15.1 This policy will be reviewed annually with relevant partners or stakeholders or sooner ifthere isafundamentalchange of legislative or regulatory provisions.