Safeguarding Adults How to contact us Further Contacts Adult Protection: Your responsibilities Referral forms Policies Further information
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.
- Prevention of abuse
- Education of staff
- Evaluation of practice
"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
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