What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding is a term used in the UK to describe keeping people safe from abuse, harm or neglect. It is an official legal term and refers to a process and systems for keeping both children and vulnerable adults protected from abuse. This article is designed to help both professional caregivers and those working with or supporting vulnerable adults. We are going to be talking about adult safeguarding and what to do if you are concerned that an vulnerable person might be at risk of abuse, harm or neglect.
What counts as abuse?
Most people automatically think of physical abuse when we mention the word abuse. However, there are many other forms of abuse including; financial, emotional, sexual, institutional or even self neglect.
What should I do if I am concerned that someone might be being abused?
If you are concerned that a vulnerable adult is being abused by anyone you should report this to your local social services safeguarding team. The contact details for the Surrey and Hampshire safeguarding teams are;
Surrey Safeguarding Adults – 0300 470 9100 (out of hours: 01483 517898)
Hampshire Safeguarding Adults – 0300 555 1386
In an emergency, or if you suspect someone is in immediate danger, you should call the police on 999.
Reporting a safeguarding concern can be difficult when you have a relationship with the person (or organisation) that you are reporting, or do not really feel that they are meaning any harm. However, it is important to notify the safeguarding team for two reasons;
- The safeguarding team can put together an overall picture of the situation – they may have had reports from elsewhere which tell them a bit more.
- The safeguarding team may be able to help resolve a situation easily (e.g. we had to notify the safeguarding team about a client who was suffering bruising due to their caring husband helping them downstairs – Social Services were able to put in a stair lift to resolve the issue with the stairs).
As a care provider here at Right at Home we have a duty to report a concern when we have one even if it is about our own staff or clients. We would also hope that if any of our clients had any concerns about any of our staff that they would feel comfortable to contact a senior member of the team about it or raise it with the safeguarding team.
If you need any further information or guidance do feel free to contact us.