Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding Policy and Procedure
Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre
Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding Policy and Procedure
Last Reviewed: July 2021
Next Review: July 2022
This document sets out the organisation’s overall approach to protecting vulnerable adults from abuse. It is supported by procedures which detail how this policy is to be carried out by staff, volunteers and trustees.
Laws exist to protect vulnerable adults, including,
Data Protection Act 1998
Human Rights Act 1998
Sexual Offences Act 2003
Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
Protecting of Freedoms Act 2012
Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) code of practice: 0-25 years – Statutory Guidance
This policy must be read in conjunction with the following external documents:
- Gloucestershire County Council: Adult Safeguarding: Multi-agency policy and procedures for the protection of adults with care and support needs in Gloucestershire.
- Gloucestershire Mental Capacity Act Multi-Agency Policy, Procedures and Guidance https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/adults-and-older-people/mental-capacity-act-2005-multi-agency-policy-procedure-and-guidance/
Safeguarding Adults at Risk Policy
- GRASAC is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and vulnerable adults who use its services.
- Vulnerable adults are people aged over 18 years who are or may be in need of community care services because of disability, age or illness and may be unable to take of themselves or to protect themselves from harm or exploitation (No Secrets 2000; Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006).
Community Care services are provided to the following:
- People with learning disabilities
- People with physical disabilities
- People with mental ill health
- People with drug or alcohol dependencies
- People with certain types of physical illness
- People with dementia
- People who are frail due to age or other factors
- People who are homeless
The types of abuse experienced by vulnerable adults include;
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Neglect and acts of omission
- Psychological abuse
- Financial/material abuse
- Discriminatory abuse
- Organisational abuse
- Domestic abuse
- Self neglect
- Modern day slavery
- GRASAC will:
- Ensure that all staff, volunteers and Trustees have enhanced DBS checks and are precluded from involvement in the organisation as appropriate (see separate DBS Policy).
- Ensure that all individuals providing 1:1 Support complete Adults Level 3 Safeguarding Training
- Provide clear and detailed procedures on decision making, accountability and recording of adults at risk safeguarding situations
- Provide thorough and effective training to staff and volunteers on adults at risk protection procedures
- Appoint a member of staff to be the Designated Adults at Risk Protection Officer and someone to deputise for the designated person when they are not available
- Provide regular and consistent supervision and support to volunteers and staff which have as their basis, the safety and welfare of clients (whether adults or children)
- Ensure that the organisation is able to learn from specific adults at risk protection situations and to review policy and procedures as a result if necessary
- Maintain a current knowledge of adults at risk protection procedures nationally and within Gloucestershire
- Promote empowerment and autonomy for adults, including those who lack capacity for a particular decision as embodied in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, implementing an approach which appropriately balances this with safeguarding.
- Report any serious safeguarding incidents to the Charity Commission in line with regulatory requirements for charities in England and Wales https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/charity-commission and make contact with Adult Safeguarding Board for advice and guidance.
- The organisation operates a confidential service but if it is assessed that an adult at risk is being abused then confidentiality can be breached within procedural guidelines. In this event, a staff member/volunteer is expected to discuss the action they propose to take with a client beforehand unless it is assessed by the Designated (or deputy) Adults at Risk Safeguarding Officer that this would place the adult at greater risk.
- If it is felt that an adult is at risk of significant harm through the identified types of abuse (above)and the details of the adult at risk are known, the designated agency in Gloucestershire should be contacted following discussion and agreement of any actions with the Designated at risk Safeguarding Officer.
- All discussions about specific adults at risk protection situations need to be
recorded by the volunteer/staff member and Designated (or deputy) Adults at Risk Safeguarding Officer, regardless of the eventual action taken.
- General Procedure
The Designated Adults at Risk Protection Officer for GRASAC is the Service Manager. If the Service Manager is not available the CEO needs to be contacted. If neither is available contact the designated trustee
No individual volunteer or worker will be expected to make a decision regarding the protection of vulnerable adults alone
No volunteer /staff member should make a referral regarding an adult who may be at risk, or break confidentiality without prior discussion with, and the agreement of, the Designated (or deputy) Adults at Risk Safeguarding Officer
Confidentiality in this respect refers to the requirement not to share anything about a client without their consent to anyone outside of GRASAC. It is vital that information is shared within the organisation so that the safest decisions are made.
Maintaining the confidentiality of those who use GRASAC is a vital part of the ethos of the organisation and, generally, this can be assured. However, when a staff member or volunteer has a strong suspicion that a vulnerable adult is at risk of harm, the responsibility to safeguard the vulnerable adult overrides that of confidentiality to a client or colleague. Designated Adults at Risk Officer or Deputy MUST break confidentiality if necessary, in these circumstances.
At the start of any work being carried out, it will be clearly explained that confidentiality cannot be maintained where the volunteer/ staff member believes that there is danger to a client or risk to others by the client. Volunteers/staff members need to be clear with vulnerable adults about where boundaries lie. Vulnerable adults can be reassured that no information can be disclosed without their consent, unless related to a significant risk to their life, the lives of others or the welfare of a child.
If confidentiality cannot be maintained, the information will only be shared with relevant people.
Whenever there is either evidence or suspicion of abuse the volunteer staff member concerned will discuss these concerns with the vulnerable adult. The volunteer/staff member will explain clearly to the vulnerable adult the reasons for having to pass information on to other professionals and the procedures for dealing with Safeguarding.
Adults at risk will be kept informed of decisions by GRASAC and supported appropriately.
Generally, GRASAC works on the basis of consent and in many situations consent to take action can be sought from a client without compromising their safety but consent must not be sought if it may place a vulnerable adult at greater risk.
- What to do if you think a vulnerable adult is being abused or neglected in any situation
A volunteer/ staff may be given direct information about an adult at risk who is currently at risk of harm or they may be given information which leads them to a professional judgement that a vulnerable adult is being harmed or is at risk of harm.
The volunteer/staff member with immediate concerns about safeguarding should report the matter to the Designated (or deputy) Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding Officer immediately . The Designated (or deputy) Adult at Risk Officer will discuss the situation with the volunteer/staff member which will be recorded on lamplight . The Designated Adults at Risk Safeguarding Officer (or deputy) will decide whether to report the situation to the Police (or Local Adult Safeguarding Board (if risk of harm of not imminent) via GCC’s designated helpdesk. Click on this link for the procedure to report: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/adults-and-older-people/report-suspected-abuse-safeguarding-adults-at-risk/
If there is consent from the client to make a safeguarding referral then this can be agreed and made immediately by telephone by the Service Manager (or other designated officer) and followed up in writing. The designated officer contact details are provided at the end of this document.
If gaining consent from a client may place an adult at risk at greater risk of harm then this route is not an option, referrals should made by GRASAC breaching confidentiality as described above.
- What to do if you suspect a Staff Member, Volunteer or Trustee is abusing a Vulnerable Adult
If the information you have regarding risk to a Adult at risk relates to abuse by a member of GRASAC you should immediately inform the CEO If the allegation concerns the CEO, you should speak directly to the Trustee Deputy Adults at Risk Safeguarding Officer.
The member of GRASAC will be suspended immediately for the duration investigation and any subsequent disciplinary action (as laid out in the relevant GRASAC Handbook) on the authority of the Designated Adults at Risk Safeguarding Officer and a member of the Board of Trustees. This is not an assumption of guilt but serves to allow the appropriate investigation to take place and protects the member of staff or volunteer from further allegations.
- Record Keeping
Records must be made of discussions, decisions and actions taken at all stages of the procedure, clearly indicating who was present.
Records will be kept securely in a confidential place in the GRASAC office.
- Contact Details for Referrals:
Service Manager – Magdalena Gulcz-Hayward – 07864 650087
CEO – Maggie Stewart – 07760 787856
Gloucestershire County Council adult help desk on 01452 426868 (Mon to Fri 8am to 5pm) and / or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Out of hours – Adult Services Emergency Duty Team on 01452 614194.
If concerned about the immediate safety of a vulnerable adult the police should be contacted (at any time) by dialling 999.