Our policy for safeguarding Carelink undertakes our responsibilities with regard to protection of children and / or vulnerable adults seriously and will respond to concerns appropriately. We will do all we can to embed safeguarding within our organisation and when abuse is discovered, we will assist local authority’s Safeguarding Teams in undertaking investigations which may affect our customers, their families / friends, our staff and volunteers. This policy and associated procedure does not override the relevant local authorities’ Safeguarding policies where vulnerable adult and children may live. Principles NEL Carelink will make sure we embed Safeguarding practices within our service through: Following safe recruitment & selection of staff and volunteers. Provide management, support and training to staff and volunteers. Recognise, respond to, record and report concerns about abuse against children and vulnerable adults that we become aware of or have concerns about to the local authority adult & child safeguarding teams. Reduce the risk of abuse through risk assessing our members and work practices so that we can reduce the risk of abuse. Definitions of Safeguarding & Protection Safeguarding is about embedding preventative practices throughout organisations to ensure the protection of children and / or vulnerable adults wherever possible from potential abuse. In contrast, child and adult protection is about responding to circumstances that arise and is the responsibility of each local authority’s Safeguarding Team for Children and Adults to investigate and manage. Definition of Abuse “The violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by another person or persons” (No Secrets DoH 2000). Abuse is behaviour that either deliberately or unknowingly causes harm or endangers life or infringes on rights. It is a single or repeated act. It may deliberate neglect or lack of appropriate action. It can also be where the person is persuaded to do something to which he / she has not consented, or cannot consent. Abuse causes harm or distress to a person. It can often occur where there is an expectation of trust. Abuse may be perpetrated by an individual, a group or an organisation. Where it is an individual, most often it is someone the person already knows, such as a partner, a relative, a neighbour, a care worker, a social worker, a doctor, a nurse or a friend. It might also be a member of staff or volunteer. The underlying reasons for abuse are many. Some abuse is unintentional, for example, a carer may not be getting enough help themselves and may unintentionally start to neglect the needs of a person they are caring for. Some abuse is deliberate, for example, people abuse because they can gain financially by abusing. Some people deliberately groom people to gain their trust before taking what they want. Some people physically abuse or bully as a way of trying to be in control of a situation or a person, others bully in order to feel that they are more powerful than the person they are abusing. Some people do not have the mental capacity to understand the impact of their behaviour on others but what they are doing is still abuse. Abuse is often a crime. For example, assault, rape, theft, fraud, domestic abuse, harassment / discrimination, antisocial behaviour, hate crime, including disability hate crime, wilful neglect or mistreatment. Children and Vulnerable Adults abuse is very similar in nature although there are differences. Typical forms of abuse are: emotional, physical, sexual, neglect. Definition of a Child A child is under the age of 18 (as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child). Children and Mental Capacity It is important to understand that considerations about capacity is never the case with respect to children and possible signs of abuse - they do not have the capacity to decide to tolerate the abusive situation and all cases of abuse we become aware of will immediately be reported to the local authority’s Child Protection Team. Definition of Vulnerable Adults A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited. They may be receiving a statutory service but they do not have to be. This may include a person who: is elderly and frail has a mental illness including dementia has a physical or sensory disability has a learning disability has a severe physical illness is a substance misuser is homeless has problems communicating, e.g. English is not their first language. Being dependent on other people for important aspects of daily living makes a person very dependent on the other person’s behaviour. Living an isolated life can also prevent other people noticing if things are wrong. An adult at risk who is abused or neglected may not necessarily be receiving ‘Social Care services’ or they may fund these privately. They may not regard themselves as ‘vulnerable’. These factors do not exclude them from protection through this policy & procedure. Understanding Capacity with Vulnerable Adults and Its Impact Upon Safeguarding The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 provides a statutory framework for people who lack the capacity to make decisions by themselves. When a concern is raised about adult abuse, we will need to consider whether the vulnerable adult has the mental capacity to understand what is happening to them. Capacity is a complex issue and at times an adult can be vulnerable but actually have the capacity to understand what is happening to them even though it is causing them harm. We should still support the individual to become aware that what they are experiencing is abusive behaviour, that they do not have to accept it and they can be supported in reducing or stopping the behaviour occurring. We will always assume that an individual has capacity unless we are aware that they do not and will ensure that we follow their wishes above those of people around them. If we are aware of a concern, it is important to still make an alert but we may find local authority’s Safeguarding Teams do not class the situation as within their investigation criteria in terms of adult protection. Principles of Safeguarding When dealing with any Safeguarding issues for vulnerable adults (although it is still useful when looking at safeguarding children) we will follow the 6 principles of safeguarding as outlined within the Care Act 2014: Empowerment - presumption of person led decisions and informed consent. Prevention - it is better to take action before harm occurs. Proportionality - proportionate and least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented. Protection - support and representation for those in greatest need. Partnership - local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting abuse. Accountability - accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding. Responsibilities Carelink Team Expected Responsibility Staff & Volunteers To read this policy and procedure To attend the required safeguarding training. If they become aware, to raise alerts of any concerns they may have about an incident which may result in a child or vulnerable individual being at risk of or subjected to abuse. Team leader /Manager To oversee the reporting of any alerts and follow up as necessary, supporting the local safeguarding teams to carry out their investigations. To log all concerns raised and to monitor their outcome. Take responsibility for making sure staff & volunteers are aware of and comply with this policy and procedure. Take responsibility for making sure staff & volunteers attend Safeguarding training as set out within this policy. Ensure that new staff and volunteers are made aware of this policy and procedure within their Induction. To make sure all staff and volunteers have in place the necessary safeguarding checks before working with our members. Trustees Has responsibility to ensure this policy is accessible, implemented, monitored and reviewed. To ensure that there is sufficient resources available to respond to safeguarding processes and concerns. Training All staff and volunteers will be required to undertake Safeguarding Awareness training for both children and adults. The manager is expected to undertake the Safeguarding Awareness and reporting training for adults and children. Managing Information Information will be gathered, recorded and stored in accordance with our Data Protection & Confidentiality policy but recognising that due to the nature of the allegations that information may need to be shared with other agencies if required. All staff / volunteers must be aware that they have a professional duty to share information with other agencies in order to safeguard children and vulnerable adults. The public interest in safeguarding children and vulnerable adults may override confidentiality interests. However, information will be shared on a need to know basis only. All staff must be aware that they cannot promise young people or vulnerable adults or their families / carers that they will keep secrets.