The aims of safeguarding are to respect the autonomy and independence of individuals by applying the six key principles set out in Chapter 14, Care and Support Statutory Guidance (Department of Health) to all adult safeguarding work.
All service providers, including housing and housing support providers, should have clear operational policies and procedures that reflect the framework set by the SABs in consultation with them. This should include what circumstances would lead to the need to report outside their own chain of line management, including outside their organisation to the local authority.
See also Abuse.
The safeguarding duties apply to an adult who:
The adult experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect will hereafter be referred to as the adult throughout these procedures.
Where someone is 18 or over but is still receiving services from children’s social care and a safeguarding issue is raised, the matter should be dealt with through adult safeguarding arrangements.
Local authority statutory adult safeguarding duties apply equally to those adults with care and support needs regardless of whether those needs are being met, regardless of whether the adult lacks mental capacity or not, and regardless of setting other than prisons and approved premises where prison governors and National Offender Management Service respectively have responsibility. However senior representatives of those services may sit on the Safeguarding Adult Board.
Prevention of abuse and neglect is one of the key ways of securing someone’s well-being, and this should be considered as part of an assessment of someone’s care and support needs, even when this is not the presenting need.
It is important to remember that just because someone is old, frail or has a disability, this does not mean they are inevitably ‘at risk’. For example, a person with a disability who has mental capacity to make decisions about their own safety may be perfectly able to make informed choices and protect themselves from harm. In the context of safeguarding adults, the vulnerability of the adult is related to how able they are to make and exercise their own informed choices free from duress, pressure or undue influence of any sort, and the extent to which they can protect themselves from abuse, neglect and exploitation. It is equally important to note that people with capacity can also be vulnerable.
An adult’s vulnerability is determined by a range of interconnected factors including personal characteristics, factors associated with their situation or environment, and social factors (see Table 1 below).
|Personal characteristics of the adult that increase vulnerability may include||Personal characteristics of the adult that decrease vulnerability may include|
|Not having mental capacity to make decisions about their own safety including fluctuating mental capacity associated with mental illness and other conditions;||Having mental capacity to make decisions about their own safety;|
|Communication difficulties;||Having no communication difficulties or if so, having the right equipment / support;|
|Physical dependency – being dependent on others for personal care and activities of daily life;||Good physical and mental health; no physical dependency or, if needing help, able to self-direct care;|
|Low self-esteem; experience of abuse;Childhood experience of abuse.||Positive former life experiences; self-confidence and high self-esteem.|
|Social / situational factors that increase the risk of abuse may include||Social / situational factors that decrease the risk of abuse may include|
|Being cared for in a care setting, that is more or less dependent on others; not receiving the right amount or the right kind of care;||Remaining independent and active;|
|Isolation and social exclusion;||Good family relationships; active social life and a circle of friends;Able to participate in the wider community;|
|Stigma and discrimination; being the focus of anti-social behaviour;|
|Lack of access to information and support||Good knowledge and access to a range of community facilities; access to sources of relevant information.|
|Carers lack of awareness or acceptance of impact of care needs.|
It is always essential in safeguarding to consider whether the adult is capable of giving informed consent in all aspects of their life. If they are able, their consent should be sought and where appropriate recorded. This may be in relation to whether they give consent to:
If, after discussion with the adult who has mental capacity, they refuse any intervention, their wishes will be respected unless:
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