Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility:
Quest is an association established to offer support and fellowship to LGBT+ Catholic adults. Quest’s members typically meet in private homes or public venues such as churches or conference centres. As such, Quest acknowledges that vulnerable adults may be members of Quest or possibly contact us seeking support, fellowship or just with enquiries, although of course, the fact that an adult is vulnerable may not be immediately apparent.
Quest also acknowledges that many members of the organisation may have little or no knowledge of safeguarding issues. Nevertheless, we aim to raise such awareness among the membership by sharing this policy with them.
Quest understands that safeguarding vulnerable adults is a part of the wider role of safeguarding and promoting welfare. This refers to activity which is undertaken to protect specific vulnerable adults who are suffering or are at risk of suffering significant harm.
- ‘Safeguarding 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 and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s well-being is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances.’ (Care and Support Statutory Guidance, Department of Health, updated February 2017)
All adults should be able to live free from fear and harm. But some may find it hard to get the help and support they need to stop abuse. An adult may be unable to protect themselves from harm or exploitation due to many reasons, including their mental or physical incapacity, sensory loss or physical or learning disabilities. This could be an adult who is usually able to protect themselves from harm but maybe unable to do so because of an accident, disability, frailty, addiction or illness.
Who do adult safeguarding duties apply to?
The Care Act 2014 sets out that adult safeguarding duties apply to any adult who:
- has care and support needs, and
- is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse and neglect, and
- is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect, because of those needs.
For those vulnerable adults who are suffering, or at risk of suffering significant harm, joint working is essential, to safeguard and promote their welfare and – where necessary – to help bring to justice the perpetrators of crimes against them. All agencies, charities and professionals should:
- be alert to potential indicators of abuse or neglect;
- be alert to the risks which individual abusers, or potential abusers, may pose to vulnerable adults;
- share and help to analyse information so that an assessment can be made of the individual’s needs and circumstances;
- contribute to whatever actions are needed to safeguard and promote the individual’s welfare;
- take part in regularly reviewing the outcomes for the individual against specific plans; and
- work co-operatively with parents and/or other carers unless this is inconsistent with ensuring the individual’s safety.
Quest takes seriously the welfare of any vulnerable adults with whom it comes into contact and aims to ensure that they are welcomed into a safe, caring environment.
Quest recognises that it has a responsibility to help prevent the neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse of any vulnerable adult with whom it comes into contact, and to report any abuse discovered or suspected.
Quest recognises its responsibility to implement, maintain and regularly review procedures which are designed to prevent and to be alert to such abuse.
Example scenario to consider:
A Quest attendee with a physical disability (i.e. has ‘care and support’ needs) discloses that he is experiencing physical abuse from a partner, and that he is unable to protect himself due to his disability. He wants your advice.
For reasons of consistency and practicality, Quest’s procedures for safeguarding vulnerable adults will be the same as those for safeguarding children and young people except where the law, or the specific circumstances of an individual’s need require otherwise. In particular, the following should be noted:
- The individual should be involved in identifying how best to respond to their safeguarding situation by giving them more choice and control as well as improving quality of life, well-being and safety.
- Get brief details about what has happened and what the adult would like done about it, but do not probe or conduct a mini-investigation
- Seek consent from the adult to take action and to report the concern. Consider whether the adult may lack capacity to make decisions about their own and other people’s safety and well-being. If you decide to act against their wishes or without their consent (e.g. if they appear to be in immediate danger), you must record your decision and the reasons for this.
- Quest members should report any potential safeguarding concerns they may have to Quest’s Safeguarding Officer.
- The person who has the concern or Quest’s Safeguarding Officer (as appropriate) should explain to the person concerned the need to record the incident.
- As far as possible, records should be written contemporaneously, dated and signed.
- Keep records about safeguarding concerns confidential and in a location where the alleged abuser will not have access to the record. Access should not be given to any unauthorised personal for accessing confidential information including the sharing of passwords.
In making a decision whether to refer or not, the Safeguarding Officer should take into account:
- the adult’s wishes and preferred outcome
- whether the adult has mental capacity to make an informed decision about their own and others’ safety
- the safety or well-being of children or other adults with care and support needs
- whether there is a person in a position of trust involved
- whether a crime has been committed
This should inform the decision whether to notify the concern to the following people:
- the police if a crime has been committed and/or
- Adult Social Services for the area concerned for possible safeguarding enquiry
- relevant regulatory bodies such as Care Quality Commission, Ofsted, Charities commission
- service commissioning teams
- family/relatives as appropriate (seek advice from adult social services)
The Safeguarding Officer should keep a record of the reasons for referring the concern or reasons for not referring. Incidents of abuse may be one-off or multiple and may affect one person or more. Those responsible for safeguarding should look beyond single incidents to identify patterns of harm. Accurate recording of information will also assist in recognising any patterns.