Safeguarding adults is about protecting those at risk of harm. It involves identifying abuse and acting whenever someone is being harmed. Safeguarding is everybody’s business.
The Department of Health defines a vulnerable adult as a person aged 18 years or over who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness, and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.
The Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership (KBSP) is a statutory partnership of all the organisations working to safeguard adults at risk in the city. The multi-agency policies help people to report, investigate and stop abuse, supported by Adult Care Team Managers.
Abuse is when anyone violates someone else’s human and civil rights. Abuse doesn’t have to be done on purpose; the most important thing is whether the adult at risk has been harmed. Abuse can be:
Any form of assault, over-medication, unnecessary restraint or bad manual handling
Rape or any sexual act that the victim didn’t consent to or couldn’t understand
Threats, intimidation, coercion, harassment or bullying
Theft, borrowing money and not repaying it, and any pressure about wills, property, possessions or benefits
Ignoring medical or physical needs, not providing access to care, withholding essentials such as medication, food, water and heating
All forms of harassment based on a disability, ethnicity, gender or sexuality
Repeated poor care and treatment of vulnerable adults, and unsatisfactory professional practice
Slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude
Not caring for personal hygiene, health or surroundings, including behaviour like hoarding which puts the person, or others, at risk