We believe in and promote the right of every person to live their life free from harm and abuse. We also recognise that ‘safeguarding’ those at risk is everyone’s responsibility.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, cases of abuse and neglect have risen. So, what can we all do to support those most in need within our communities?
Here we explore ‘safeguarding’. What it means, and the actions we can all take if we believe a member of your community is at risk.
What is safeguarding?
Safeguarding means protecting vulnerable adults and children from neglect and/or abuse. We all have the right to be safe no matter our circumstances or who we are. And, we all have a responsibility for the safety of those in our communities most at risk. So, it’s for us all to do all we can to protect children and vulnerable adults.
At Brighter Places, we take our safeguarding responsibilities seriously. Colleagues are trained to recognise and respond to suspected abuse or neglect. And we have a Safeguarding policy in place. This enables us to report and investigate if we think a vulnerable person is at risk.
What are the signs to look for?
It’s not always easy to recognise the signs. You may see or hear something that makes you question a persons’ wellbeing. For example, a child or adult may talk to you about alleged abuse. If you are unsure whether it is a safeguarding issue, it is always best to tell someone.
Neglect and abuse can include:
- Neglect and acts of omission – ignoring medical, emotional, or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care, or educational services, and withholding of necessities of life such as medication, adequate nutrition, and heating.
- Physical abuse – assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, being locked in a room, inappropriate sanctions or force-feeding, inappropriate methods of restraint, and unlawfully depriving a person of their liberty.
- Sexual abuse – rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure, and sexual assault.
- Psychological abuse (also known as ’emotional abuse’) – threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, rejection, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, indifference, harassment, verbal abuse), cyberbullying, isolation or withdrawal from services or support networks.
- Exploitation – either opportunistically or premeditated, unfairly manipulating someone for profit or personal gain.
- Financial abuse – fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions, or benefits.
- Discriminatory abuse – discrimination on the grounds of race, faith or religion, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, and political views, along with racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist comments or jokes, or comments and jokes based on a person’s disability or any other form of harassment, slur, or similar treatment. Hate crime can be viewed as a form of discriminatory abuse, although it will often involve different types of abuse as well.
- Organisational abuse – The mistreatment, abuse, or neglect of an adult by a regime or individuals in a setting or service where the adult lives or uses. Such abuse violates the person’s dignity and represents a lack of respect for their human rights.
- Domestic violence and abuse – Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.
- Self-neglect – neglecting to care for one’s hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding. It is also defined as the inability (intentional or unintentional) to maintain a socially and culturally accepted standard of self-care with the potential for serious consequences to the health and wellbeing of the individual.
How to report a safeguarding concern
- If you believe that someone is in immediate danger, you should call 999.
- If there is no immediate danger, then you should call your local authority?s safeguarding team and ask for advice.
- Here are the links to your local authority safeguarding teams.
We don’t want anyone to suffer in silence. Together, we can ‘call out’ abuse and neglect and help protect the most vulnerable in our communities.