Adult Safeguarding

Safeguarding is a really important matter for PAs and is something about which we get a lot of enquiries. Because of all these enquiries, we have been working with DMBC to plan the first safeguarding adults training session specifically designed for PAs. This took place last week so it seemed a good idea to pick out some of the key points for this month’s newsletter. We hope to run the Safeguarding Adults session again later in the year. We will let you know dates as soon as they are confirmed


What do we mean by safeguarding adults?

Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is aimed at people with care and support needs who may be in vulnerable circumstances and at risk of abuse or neglect.

It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, whilst at the same time making sure that the adults well-being is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views wishes feelings and beliefs in deciding any action.

“We all have the right to feel safe all of the time.”


What the law says

Until fairly recently, the laws and procedures around safeguarding adults were not very clear or consistent across the country.

The Care Act, which came into force last year, aims to change all this. It makes safeguarding adults a really important issue and creates a legal framework so organisations and individuals with responsibility for adult safeguarding can agree on how they must work together. Every local authority must now have set up a Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) to make sure key people, such as the police and NHS, come together regularly to discuss and act upon local issues.

Local authorities must now make enquiries, or ask others to make enquiries, when they think an adult with care and support needs may be at risk and to find out what, if any, action may be needed – whether or not the council is providing that person with their care. They also have a duty to arrange an advocate for people who may have difficulty making their views and wishes heard.


What is abuse?

Abuse of an adult can take place in a number of different ways. These include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Domestic abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial or material
  • Neglect – including self-neglect
  • Discrimination and exploitation

The abuse may not be intentional but if it results in an adult being harmed, whether once or over a number of months and years, it is abuse and therefore a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights.


What to do if you think an adult is at risk

  • If someone is in immediate danger call the police.
  • If you are concerned about someone and want to discuss the matter then call your local Adult Social Services department or safeguarding team.
  • The most important thing is to never ignore any situation you think may be some form of abuse or neglect.
  • Withholding information could lead to the abuse not being dealt with early enough. Confidentiality must never be confused with secrecy.

“Doing the right thing” (Munro report) is always much more important than being worried about breaking confidentiality or being thought of as a gossip.

“There is nothing so awful or so small that we can’t talk about it with someone.” (Protective Behaviours UK)


Further information and advice

Click here to download the South Yorkshire Safeguarding Adults Board Procedures Manual