What does Safeguarding Adults mean?
Safeguarding adults means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent or stop abuse and neglect.
Every adult has the right to be treated with dignity, have their choices respected and live a life free from fear.
There can be no silence and no secrets when it comes to the abuse of adults.
Who may be at risk?
An adult at risk is someone aged 18 years or over who:
- has needs for care and support - possibly because of a physical or learning disability, a mental health problem, frailty, dependence on drugs or alcohol, or a chronic illness
- is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect
- is unable to protect himself/herself from abuse and neglect because of his/her needs for care and support
What do we mean by abuse?
Abuse is mistreatment that violates a person’s human and civil rights. Abuse can take many forms and all are distressing.
Abuse can be:
Physical including shaking, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication,
Sexual including rape, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to
pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure, sexual assault, sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.
Psychological including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, unreasonable withdrawal of support services.
Financial including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs, including coercion in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse of property, possessions or benefits.
Organisational including neglect and poor practice within a care service such as a hospital or a care home, or a service provided in a person’s own home. This may range from a one off incident to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.
Discriminatory abuse including harassment or ill treatment because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
Neglect and acts of omission including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
Domestic abuse – ‘such as psychological, physical, sexual, financial abuse where abuse is carried out in a person’s own home by someone who is an intimate partner or family member. This includes so called ‘honour’ based violence.
Modern slavery including slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.
Self-neglect includes a wide range of behaviours such as an adult neglecting to care for their own personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.
Where might abuse happen?
Abuse can happen anywhere, in a person’s own home, in a day service, care home or hospital or out in the community.
Anyone can carry out abuse or neglect - a paid care worker or other professional, a volunteer, a neighbour, friend or even a family member, in fact anyone who has contact with an adult at risk.
What should you do if you, or someone you know, is at risk of abuse or neglect?
Unfortunately those being abused are often the least likely to bring the situation to anyone's attention. If you suspect that somebody is being abused please do not ignore it. Tell somebody. You may be the only person who can stop it. Your concerns will be taken seriously, we will listen to you and support you.
Remember, if you think something is wrong it probably is.
Information and practical advice will also be provided to the person who is at risk of abuse, so that they can make an informed choice about any help they might need, or any action they may wish to take. If they are not able to make an informed choice, we will ensure that we speak to someone who can act on their behalf.
If you are at risk of abuse or want to report the possible abuse or neglect of someone else, please call the Knowsley Access Team.
The Knowsley Access Team is the first point of contact for information and advice. You can contact them from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday on 0151 443 2600.
You can also use this number to contact Knowsley Adult and Children's Social Care out of hours team to help with emergencies between 5pm and 9am every weekday, all weekends and public holidays. Or dial 999 if someone needs police help in an emergency.