- Question: Do you know someone who is elderly; someone who has mental health problems; a learning or physical disability or someone who is vulnerable?
- Question: Would you care if something cruel was happening to them?
If your answer is yes, then what follows really is your business, as it’s ours.
Everyone should be able to live their life free from fear and harm, but some people are not always able to protect themselves. Some are vulnerable because of their mental capacity, disability or age and because they need to rely on other people to help them with their day-to-day needs. This dependency can put individuals at risk of abuse and neglect and it’s often the people they know who can be the abuser; the very people who are there to protect, love and care for them, instead are the ones who harm them.
Everyone has the right to feel safe, to feel secure, and to not be frightened. This week, we want to share what role Adult Social Care and you can do in protecting adults from harm by safeguarding their wellbeing.
What is safeguarding adults?
Safeguarding adults is a term used to describe work that helps an adult at risk maintain their independence, wellbeing and choice so they can live a life free from abuse and neglect.
Why is safeguarding important?
We have an important responsibility to ensure that the care and services we provide for vulnerable adults are safe; that we protect people from harm. But we can’t be everywhere all the time; it’s an impossibility. We can’t see behind every closed door, but as a neighbour, you might hear something, something we can’t; a cry, a muffled scream that seems to be heard time and time again. You might notice that a friend seems to always be ‘walking into the door’; bruises appearing more regularly. There are many more scenarios we could use to describe abuse but there is a way to stamp it out.
We believe the only way to break the cycle, is by giving everyone the skills and confidence to raise their concerns if they suspect abuse and, importantly, to overcome resistance to their suspicions. Be appalled at the headlines, but act too if you think someone needs safeguarding. And so below, we’ve prepared some questions and answers – the ‘what’ and ‘how’ you can help protect vulnerable adults.
What do you mean by abuse?
Abuse is mistreatment by any other person or persons that violates someone’s human and civil rights and can consist of single act, or a series of acts that added together have caused that person harm.
It can take a range of forms, it may be:
Including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, or injuring someone or misuse of medication.
Including rape and sexual assault or pressuring someone into sexual acts they haven’t consented to, don’t understand or feel powerless to refuse.
Including threats of harm or abandonment, isolation, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, or withholding services or supportive networks.
Including theft, fraud, misuse of property, possessions, benefits, and deliberate or premeditated mismanagement of finances.
Neglect and acts of omission
Including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failing to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, withholding medication, nutrition or heating.
Including abuse that is racist, sexist, or based on disability or age, other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.
Including people being mistreated by services or in places such as residential homes, nursing homes or hospitals because of poor or inadequate care, neglect or poor working practice that affects the whole of that service.
Where does abuse happen and by who?
Abuse can happen anywhere – in a person’s own home, in a residential or nursing home, in a supported living setting, a hospital or GP surgery, a prison, day centre or educational setting, library, sports centre, within the workplace, or within the community.
Abuse can be committed by a professional, a paid carer, family member, another adult at risk, or anyone else.
Whatever the cause or the nature of the abuse, it is always wrong.
Who can ‘safeguard adults’ against abuse?
In Leeds, safeguarding adults is overseen by the Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board. This board is made up of people from different organisations including Adult Social Care, Health Services, Police and organisations that support people who may need safeguarding. They work together to make sure people are safe and not abused in Leeds.
And you. You too can safeguard against abuse.
How do I do this?
There are plenty of ways to report abuse.
To raise a safeguarding adult alert, call 0113 222 4401, Monday – Friday 08:00 – 18:00
Weekends, Bank Holidays, and all other times, please call the Emergency Duty Team: 0113 240 9536
To inform the Police:
If a person is in imminent danger, ring 999
If a crime has been committed but, the person is not in imminent danger ring 101
Advice and support
If you need advice or support to decide what to do about a safeguarding adult concern/allegation you can contact the Safeguarding Adult Partnership Support Unit Advice Line.
Safeguarding Adult Partnership Support Unit Advice Line
Tel: 0113 224 3511
Open 09:00 – 17:00 Monday – Thursday; and 09:00 – 16.30 on Friday
Tomorrow, we hear from Dr Kingston and look at a real life scenario – what happened and how reporting abuse safeguarded someone from further harm.