What needs to be done when abuse or neglect is uncovered will depend upon the situation including:
- Who uncovers the abuse or neglect or suspects abuse or neglect;
- The type of abuse and neglect;
- The views of the person concerned;
- The views of any carer/advocate;
- Whether other people are at risk;
- Whether a crime is being or has been committed
There is a responsibility or ‘duty of care’ which is shared by all staff and volunteers, at all levels, across all sectors, to take appropriate action where there is a suspicion, concern or allegation of abuse or neglect. They have an individual responsibility to make known their concerns in order that full consideration can be given as to whether or not further action is needed. Most workers, for example care workers, nurses, doctors and social workers are also expected to do so under their professional Code of Conduct and under relevant legislation or guidance. A failure to do this is a failure in a person’s duty of care and could be perceived as negligent practice, which may lead, in some cases, to disciplinary or other action.
Where a member of staff or volunteer in a partner agency identifies abuse or neglect the safeguarding and whistleblowing policies and procedures should be followed to ensure an appropriate person is notified and that any need to immediately safeguard an adult at risk can be taken. Agencies should also ensure that all Alerters and/or carers are supported, in whatever way, appropriate to the situation. Concerns must be taken seriously and any immediate or ongoing support provided, as appropriate.
If the person alerting their concerns feels that the person to whom they have reported their concerns does not take them seriously or has not acted appropriately, they should report their concerns to a more senior manager or to the Safeguarding Adults Lead in their own agency.
If it is believed that the manager/s may be implicated in the abuse, or the worker does not feel able to discuss it with him/her they should refer to their agency guidance on ‘whistleblowing’ or ‘speaking out’ and contact the Safeguarding Adults Team if urgent for advice.