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Adult Safeguarding

Safeguarding Adults

Everyone has the right to live without abuse or neglect and be treated fairly with dignity and respect.  Safeguarding adults is about preventing and responding to allegations of abuse or neglect of adults with care and support needs.

You may be unsure about whether what is happening to you, or what might be happening to a friend or perhaps someone you provide care for counts as abuse or neglect.  It might be something happening in your own home, in hospital or in a care home. There might be a particular person making you feel afraid or uncomfortable.  This could be a friend, partner, carer, neighbour etc.

What is important to remember, is if you have a feeling that something isn’t right, or you are frightened of someone, don’t keep it to yourself, you must tell someone. It is important to remember that abuse is wrong and needs to be reported.

You can find advice and information here on how to keep safe and what to do if you or someone you know is in danger or at risk.

West Midlands Multi Agency Adult Safeguarding Policy and Procedure

Who do I contact if I am concerned?

If you are concerned for yourself or someone you know, please contact:

Adult Social Care Access Team  0300 555 2922

Our office hours are:

Mon – Thurs 8.45am to 5.15pm

Fri – 8.45am to 4.45pm

If you need to speak to someone outside of office hours, you can contact:

Adult Social Care Emergency Duty Team  0300 555 2922

Alternately you can complete the safeguarding concern form contained in the link below -

 adult_safeguarding_concern_form_2017_may.docx

You will need to send the completed form via one of the options below:

West Midlands Police can also be contacted:

  • Ring 999 in an emergency or
  • 111 if you don’t feel safe

We will deal with your concerns sensitively and confidentially wherever possible.

Our  Walsall Safeguarding Adults Board also has information on how we are working to keep adults safe in Walsall. To find out more: Walsall Adult Safeguarding Board Website

Safeguarding Children

If you are concerned about a child or young person contact 0300 555 2866

For more information on our work to keep children and young people safe to go the Walsall Safeguarding Children Board Website

Who is at risk of abuse?

Anyone can become at risk of abuse.  People with care and support needs are not inherently vulnerable, but they may come to be at risk of abuse or neglect at any point due to

  • Physical or Mental ill-health
  • Becoming disabled
  • Getting older
  • Not having informal or formal support networks
  • Inappropriate accommodation
  • Their financial circumstances
  • Being socially isolated

The Council must undertake appropriate safeguarding enquiries where there is reasonable cause to suspect than an adult:

1 ) Has needs for care and support (whether or not the Local Authority is meeting those needs)
2)  Is experiencing, or is at risk of experiencing abuse or neglect, and
3)  As a result of those needs is unable to protect themselves against the abuse or neglect, or the risk of it

So what are Care and Support Needs?

An adult with care and support needs is someone over the age of 18 and may include:

  • An older person
  • A person with a physical disability, learning disability or a sensory impairment
  • Someone with Mental Health needs, including dementia or a personality disorder
  • A person with a long term health condition, including someone with an autistic spectrum condition or Aspergers Syndrome.
  • Someone who misuses substances or alcohol to the extent that it affects their ability to manage day to day living.

What is Adult Abuse?

Abuse if where someone misuses their power or control over a person to cause harm. There are a number of different types of abuse, please see below.

Different Types of Abuse

Physical Abuse – this is where harm is caused to a person.  It can include being hit, kicked, burnt or being given the wrong medication.

Signs to look for may include:

  • Unexplained bruises or injuries
  • Unexplained burns to the body
  • Evidence of under or over medicating
  • Change in a person’s behavior, appears frightened in the presence of a particular person

Sexual Abuse & Sexual Exploitation – this is where a sexual act is undertaken, which the adult involved does not want or does not agree to and it makes the person feel frightened. It can include rape, inappropriate touching to parts of the body, sexual teasing and making someone watch pornography.

Signs to look for may include:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Itching, pain or bleeding in genital areas
  • Person’s behavior changes, becoming withdrawn or subdued

Psychological Abuse – This is where an individual controls, intimidates or verbally abuses the adult involved.

Signs to look for may include:

  • Anxiety, or person may appear withdrawn
  • Low-self esteem
  • Person is not allowed visitors, phone calls or to go out alone
  • Bullying via social networking sites or persistent texting

Financial or Material Abuse – this is where someone misuses your property or finances, steals from you or commits fraud.  It can also include the misuse of funds attached to personal budgets. This can include, but is not limited to, the use of funds for any illegal purpose, use of funds for anything not agreed in an individual's support plan, or the use of funds by someone other than the person in receipt of the personal budget

Signs to look for include:

  • Lack of money, food, clothing, heating
  • Inadequately explained withdrawals from accounts
  • Power of attorney obtained where the person lacks the capacity to make the decision
  • Changes to deeds or wills

Neglect and Acts of Omission– this is where a person’s medical or physical care needs are ignored, or withholding basic needs such as food, medication and heating.

Signs to look for may include:

  • Person has inadequate heating or lighting
  • Person’s physical appearance/condition appears poor (e.g. soiled clothing, pressure sore)
  • Person appears malnourished
  • Person is not provided with adequate dignity or privacy

Discriminatory Abuse – this is abuse motivated by prejudice, such as racism or sexism.

Signs to look for may include:

  • Signs may not always be obvious and may be linked to other abuse
  • Person may reject their own cultural background, personal beliefs, sexual practices or lifestyle choices

Organisational Abuse – this is the mistreatment, abuse or neglect of an adult by a regime or individuals within a care setting such as a hospital or care home. It can range from one-off incidents to ongoing ill treatment. For example, offering little or no choice or following unfair regimes and practices.

Signs to look for may include;

  • Doesn’t appear to be enough staff on duty most of the time
  • Staff are not adequately trained
  • Rules and routines are made by the staff for their benefit
  • Privacy is not respected
  • Staff do not respect individual views and needs

Domestic Abuse – this is abuse or neglect which arises from within an intimate or family relationship and can include physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, financial abuse, forced marriage, honor based violence and female genital mutilation.

Signs to look for may include:

  • Bruises, burns, injuries to the body
  • Low self-esteem
  • Person is not able to go out alone

Modern Slavery – this encompasses 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.

Signs to look for may include:

  • Person not in possession of their legal documents (e.g. passport, bank account details)
  • Person appears malnourished
  • Fear of authorities
  • Person appears to be under the control of others

Self-Neglect – this covers a wide range of behavior and can include a person neglecting to care for their personal hygiene, health or surroundings which can have a direct impact on their safety, health and wellbeing.

Signs to look for may include;

  • Poor self-care leading to a decline in personal hygiene
  • Isolation
  • Poor nutrition
  • Living in unclean circumstances

If I report something, what will happen?

Anything that you report, will always be taken seriously

If you tell a professional about your concerns, such as a nurse, GP or perhaps your carer, they will contact our Access Team to inform us of your concerns.  Alternately, you can choose to contact our Access Team direct to inform us of your concerns (our contact details are at the top of this page).  A member of staff from the Access Team will contact you (if it is appropriate and safe to do so) to discuss your concerns and what outcomes you would like to achieve.  Once sufficient information has been obtained, a decision will be taken as to whether a safeguarding enquiry is required or if there are other options that can help to resolve the issue.

If the safeguarding process is commenced, then information may have to be shared with other parties.  You will be informed if information is to be shared.

Everyone and their situations are different and the options we take will vary, however it is important to remember is that you will be involved throughout.

What are we doing in Walsall?

In Walsall, we work within the Safeguarding Adults Multi-Agency Policy and Procedures for the West Midlands. 

We also have a Walsall Safeguarding Adults Board made up of representatives from Walsall Social Care, West Midlands Police, NHS Walsall and Walsall NHS Hospitals Trust, as well as representatives from other agencies. The board keeps the procedures up to date and makes sure all agencies in Walsall work together to help prevent adult abuse.

Useful Contact Numbers

Action on Elder Abuse Helpline 080 8808 8141

Age UK Advice Line – 0800 1174

Stop Hate UK – 0800 138 1625 (for victims of hate crime)

Ann Craft Trust – 0115 951 5400 (for adults with learning disabilities)

Black Country Women’s Aid – 0121 552 6448 (24hr helpline for victims of domestic abuse within the Black County, including Walsall)

Care Quality Commission – 03000 616161

Voice UK – 0808 802 8686 (for people with a learning disability or other vulnerable people who have experienced crime or abuse)

(NB – this is not an exhaustive list)