Statements and Key Principles when Working with Adults at Risk of Abuse
The Suffolk Safeguarding Adults Board-agreed Adult Safeguarding Policies and Operational Guidance are available to all agencies, staff and volunteers who have a responsibility for the care, support and protection of vulnerable adults in Suffolk.
Whilst acknowledging that some people are more vulnerable to abuse than others because they are disempowered within society, it is also understood that some people may be additionally susceptible because of disability, age, impairment or illness.
Therefore the key principles which underpin the policy and procedures ensure that:
Every person has the right to live a life free from abuse, exploitation and neglect.
Adults at risk of abuse must be made aware of their rights and given information, advice and support, and must be encouraged and enabled to access protection from the law and legal processes.
Every effort must be made to promote the well-being, security and safety of adults at risk of abuse consistent with their rights, mental capacity and personal choices.
In most cases, the adult at risk of abuse should be the person who decides on the chosen course of action, whilst being given all possible support to do so.
In some cases, an adult with mental capacity may choose to remain in an abusive environment or situation. In these cases it is still extremely important to consider what advice and support can be offered to reduce their risk from harm.
Organisations working with Vulnerable Adults
Every organisation must ensure that they promote the duty of care and protection of vulnerable people and have a clear, well publicised policy of zero tolerance of abuse. In addition, all agencies are expected to be aware of SAB policy and agreed process, and where possible safeguarding procedures should be known and understood by customers, relatives and friends as well as staff.
All organisations must ensure that they are compliant with the appropriate safe recruitment practices to help reduce the risk of abusive behaviour and practice, on the basis that those working with vulnerable groups do so in a position of trust, therefore services should be provided in an environment which lessens any imbalance of power and encourages independence and self-advocacy for service users.
All working practices should minimise the risk of abuse by discrimination through being sensitive to individual, gender and cultural needs or any other practice which may stigmatise or disadvantage the individual or customer group.
Inter-agency Working and Communication
Effective inter-agency working and communication is crucial in order to protect adults at risk of abuse. Information sharing must be collaborative with clear communication pathways between agencies and professionals.
Decisions made to share information (or not) must be defensible and in the best interests of vulnerable people, in a bid to reduce or prevent harm; and consideration must be given to the likelihood of harm being caused if the information is not shared.
To ensure a balance between the requirement of confidentiality and the need to share information, due consideration is given to:
Public Interest Disclosure Act (1998)
The Caldecott Guardians
Human Rights Act 1998
Section 17 Crime and Disorder Act (1998)