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Safeguarding Adults      How to contact us     Further Contacts     Adult Protection: Your responsibilities      Referral forms     Policies           Further information

Safeguarding Adults

The remit of the Safeguarding Adult service within ABMU Health Board working with colleagues from within health and also the police and social services is to ensure that all patients are treated fairly, in a safe and comfortable environment free from all forms of abuse. This involves advice and support in the operational management of adult protection concerns and referrals within the Health Board working closely with the Locality and Directorate Managerial teams as well as the Adult Protection Teams in the Local Authorities and the Police. The department devised and delivers a programme of Adult Protection training to all staff within the Health Board commensurate with their role within the Adult Protection procedures.

How to contact us 

The Head of Safeguarding Adults can be contacted on 01792 487483 and the Deputy Head of Safeguarding Adults can be contacted on 01792 517045. 

Further contacts

Adult Protection: Your responsibilities

What is adult protection? Adult protection is a framework that enables organisations to protect adults who are considered to be vulnerable from a variety of abusive situations. The framework utilizes a multi-agency approach involving Health, Social Services, Police, the Crown Prosecution Service as well as residential and nursing homes, residential care homes, nursing care homes, housing and the voluntary sector.
South Wales Safeguarding Adults Strategic Management Board.

The South Wales Safeguarding Adults Strategic Management Board is made up of local authorities, police, health groups, voluntary and independent sectors. These professional groups work together to challenge and combat abuse and promote the rights of vulnerable adults. The Health Board is a key member of this forum.

Who is a Vulnerable Adult?
‘A person who is 18 years of age or over, and who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him/herself, or unable to protect him/herself against significant harm or serious exploitation’. (Law Commission - Who decides?: Making decisions on behalf of mentally incapacitated adults 1997).

What is abuse?
“A single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an [older] person”. (World Health Organization. Toronto declaration on the global prevention of elder abuse. Geneva: WHO, 2002).
It is not always the case that adults are able to protect and care for themselves. Some adults are particularly vulnerable to abuse and having their basic human rights routinely disregarded. For instance, experience suggests up to 5% of people over 65 and 10% of those with learning difficulties suffer some form of abuse or neglect. For some people abuse is an everyday experience.

There are five categories of abuse: 

  • Physical Abuse - Physical assault includes hitting, slapping or punching, over use or misuse of medication, undue restraint.
  • Sexual Abuse - Sexual abuse is a serious offence and includes rape and sexual assault or being touched where you do not want to be touched, such as genital areas or being made to touch other people's genital areas.
  • Emotional/psychological Abuse – e.g: Use of ‘terms of endearment,’ verbal abuse, threats of harm, treating an adult like a child.
  • Financial Abuse – e.g: Theft, fraud, pressure around wills, property or inheritance or misappropriation of benefits.
  • Neglect – e.g: Not supporting someone to meet their needs for nutrition, hydration, hygiene or negligence in failing to administer medication, failing to appropriately manage patient skin integrity.

Who can abuse? Anyone can behave in a way that is abusive. It might be someone known, such as a family member, neighbor, or friend; unknown such as a stranger; or someone employed to provide care to the vulnerable adult such as a health or social care worker

Where does it happen? Abuse can happen anywhere – e.g: The patients home, a care setting such as Care Home or Hospital, at work or in a public area such as a pub or club, day centre or other public place.

Your Responsibilities: It is everyone's responsibility to play a part in the protection of vulnerable adults. If you witness abuse, are informed of abuse or just suspect that abuse is taking place, you must act without delay. If you feel a criminal act has or may have taken place, you should contact the police immediately. The patient’s safety and well-being are of paramount importance and the patient must be kept safe and as comfortable as possible. If medical help is required you must contact a doctor or an ambulance immediately.

What not to do?

  • Do not ignore what’s going on.
  • Do not destroy, clean or wipe any evidence that might be used in an investigation.
  • Do not investigate the incident but record details of what has occurred or what you have been told as accurately as possible on a referral form. 
This site is being developed to help share information. The Protection of Vulnerable Adults involves many partners working together including Health, Police, Social Services, Voluntary Sector, Independent Sectors and Regulators, the general public and of course vulnerable people themselves. The website has been established to share information as widely as possible across Wales and beyond.
There are 4 forums in Wales who protect vulnerable adults.  Each forum contains a breakdown of the Local Authorities within that area.  Each Local Authority provides information on individual AAPC's, local policies and procedures and publications.

Referral forms

To report abuse a VA1 form must be completed.
Use this form to record all the details of what you were told or what you witnessed, and to note any physical marks you can see such as cuts and bruises. Pass the VA form to your line manager/senior manager without delay. For further information or advice contact your locality/directorate Adult Protection Designated Lead Manager (Head of Nursing or nominated deputy) or a member of the ABM UHB Adult Protection team.

Policy documents

The ABM University Health Board recognises that many of the people who access its services will be vulnerable whether that is as a direct result of the presenting problem or any other on-going issue resulting in vulnerability. This strategy applies to all staff employed by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and all independent contractors and providers (e.g GPs, opticians and dentists).The aim of the strategy is to provide a meaningful plan of action to ensure that patients being cared for in the ABM University Health Board are protected from all forms of abuse and that care is delivered in a safe, caring and comfortable environment. The strategy has three interwoven strands; namely:
  1. Prevention of abuse
  2. Education of staff
  3. Evaluation of practice   
Welcome to the first Wales Policy and Procedures for the Protection of Vulnerable Adults from Abuse. This manual is intended to guide the safeguarding work of all those concerned with the welfare of vulnerable adults employed in the statutory, third (voluntary) and private sectors, in health, social care, the police and other services. The manual was commissioned by the chairs of the four regional Adult Protection Fora in Wales to replace four regional versions. Representatives of the Fora, plus the Police, came together to identify and draw together into one document the best of the existing four and to update and refine the available material. Adult protection work has evolved rapidly since the Welsh Office issued the guidance document In Safe Hands in 2000 and continues to do so.

Further information

"The abuse of vulnerable adults is an ugly truth and is not a new phenomenon. By working together, we in Wales are finding that a better understanding of adult protection issues is rightly leading to a more open and fuller debate about how these matters should be addressed. In recent years there has also been a much greater public awareness of these issues, which in turn has led to a much lower tolerance of adult abuse.

"Raising an individual’s awareness of their rights is a key first step in them being able to enjoy them. One barrier to awareness can often be the complex nature of the legislation in this area. I therefore welcome this guide produced by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, which seeks to simplify this difficult area of legislation to help practitioners in their work. It will also help individuals and those caring for them who wish to develop their understanding of these issues." (Gwenda Thomas AM, Deputy Minister for Social Services)  

Direct Gov Mental Capacity and the Law

Information about 'Mental Capacity and the Law’ is located in the ‘Government, Citizens and Rights’ area of the Direct Gov Website.


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Last updated: 29 November 2012