What can I expect of professionals who work with adults do to keep them safe?

The way in which services respond to allegations and reports of abuse are shaped by best practice in the Care Act 2014, whose principles have been adopted for use in the Isle of Man. These principles shape the way we work with adults who we believe are vulnerable to abuse and include:

Empowerment – People know best about the care and support they need; and their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs should always be considered. To ensure that this is implemented in the right way, professionals must discuss all the possible outcomes of the person’s decision, without enforcing their opinions too much. If the person does not have capacity to give consent, then their decisions can be made for them.

Protection - Professionals should always work to protect vulnerable adults and other people from abuse and neglect. The Act clearly states how people can raise concerns about the safety or wellbeing of someone who has care needs. If a person is at risk of abuse or neglect, authorities must act immediately. An effective response must be in place to protect the person in need. 

Prevention - The main aim of professionals should be on the person’s wellbeing, on reducing the need for care and support, and on reducing the likelihood that the person will need care and support in the future. Professionals have a legal duty to prevent, reduce and delay people’s needs from worsening. The aim is to have responsive organisations that are able to support people at an early stage, to prevent and reduce the likelihood of people ending up in crisis situations.

Proportionality - Appropriateness and proportionality are concepts that must apply to all assessments and are not themselves forms of carers’ or needs assessments. A proportionate assessment will be as extensive as required to establish the extent of a person’s needs and any decisions made will always be person-centred and based on their individual circumstances.

Partnership - Any decisions should be made with the person’s involvement, and their wellbeing should be balanced with that of any involved family and friends. It also applies to multi-agency collaboration working in partnership to provide the appropriate care and support for the individual.

Accountability - Professionals should ensure that any actions taken to support a person receiving care affect their rights and freedom as little as possible. The accountability principle also states that safeguarding is everybody’s duty, and everyone in contact with a vulnerable person should be responsible for noting any risks and taking action on any harm identified.

The UK Government has developed some helpful fact sheets on the Care Act. For your information these can be found by following the link below:

Care Act factsheets - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Responses to concerns about self-neglect or abuse are also in line with the principles of Making Safeguarding Personal (you can read some more about this by following this link.)

Any professionals should refer a safeguarding concern either to the police (if they think you are in immediate danger) or to Adult Protection Team.

The Adult Protection team will consider all of the information they have and decide if immediate action is needed to keep someone safe. This can involve, for example, calling the police or getting medical attention.

If the person is not thought to be in immediate danger a decision about whether or not an enquiry is needed is supported by an ‘enquiry report’. An enquiry should mean that the social worker will speak to and gather information from whoever is needed, to understand and assess risk. The enquiry also needs to set out what action is needed to prevent any harm.  An enquiry is usually completed within 20 working days (or approximately one month). There should be one person that leads the enquiry.

The police will make any decisions about any criminal investigations that may be needed, whilst working with the social workers.

At the earliest stages, consideration should be given to whether or not the person at risk has ‘mental capacity’ or is well enough and/or able to take part in any enquiries and make informed decisions about how they will be kept safe.

The person in questions should be kept informed of every step of the way on this decision making and they may wish to get an advocate to speak on your behalf to make sure their voice is heard.

If, following an enquiry, it is believed that there is still a risk, a safeguarding plan might be needed. This is a plan that:

  • Sets out what steps are to be taken to make sure the person is safe – for example who is going to do what
  • What support, therapy and advocacy you may be needed
  • How risks will be managed

The safeguarding plan will be reviewed regularly. It will stop when it is believed that the vulnerable adult is safe and no longer at risk of harm.