Sirona care and health is strongly committed to ensuring that adults at risk are protected from abuse and that any concerns are thoroughly and fairly investigated.
Sirona care and health provides services across Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire, which are separate local authorities.
In Bath & North East Somerset, social workers and other staff employed by Sirona care and health investigate any concerns on behalf of B&NES Council – the number to call to raise an alert is (01225) 396000.
In South Gloucestershire, the Department for Children, Adults and Health is legally responsible for investigating any concerns about alleged abuse and can be contacted on (01454) 868007.
Sirona care and health is a fully committed partner of the Safeguarding Adults Boards in B&NES and South Gloucestershire (see links below) and actively promotes compliant policies and procedures.
Abuse is everybody’s business: it is essential that everyone is alert to the possibility of abuse and reports it if they suspect it may be happening.
What do we mean by ‘Safeguarding Adults’?
‘Safeguarding Adults’ is the term often used when talking about the abuse of adults who are vulnerable or ‘at risk’.
Under section 42 of the Care Act 2014, safeguarding enquiries must be made if an Adult appears to:
- Have needs for care and support (whether or not these are being met)
- Be experiencing, or be at risk of, abuse or neglect
- Be unable to protect him/herself from the risk of / experience of abuse or neglect as a result of those care needs
Types of Abuse
There are ten main types of abuse:
- Physical – this could include hitting, slapping, punching etc
- Financial – this includes theft, deception and withholding your belongings
- Emotional / Psychological – this type of abuse might involve bullying, threats or humiliation
- Neglect – being left without food, heating, medication or personal care etc
- Sexual – rape and other sexual acts to which the person has not given consent
- Organisational – covers neglect and poor practice within an institution or specific care setting, or in one’s own home. Can be through neglect or poor professional practice resulting from policies/culture/systems
- Discriminatory (including hate crime) – being treated unfairly because of age, race, religion, gender, sexuality, disability etc
- Modern Slavery – covers human trafficking/forced labour/domestic servitude, forcing individuals into a life of abuse or inhumane treatment
- Self Neglect – covers a wide range of behaviour such as neglecting to care for one’s own health/hygiene/surroundings/hoarding, etc
- Domestic Violence and Abuse – includes psychological/physical/sexual/financial/emotional abuse/”honour” based violence, forced marriage including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Domestic abuse not just about intimate partners – it can involve any family members
What Happens if Abuse or Neglect is Reported?
Sirona care and health staff are committed to handling concerns as promptly, effectively and courteously as possible. We work closely with other agencies such as the police, doctors, hospitals and fire and ambulance services to help the person involved.
- We will respond to your needs and concerns as quickly as possible
- We will respond in a courteous, sensitive and professional manner
- Before any decisions are made, your wishes / those of the person concerned will be taken fully into account
If you are the person who has suffered the abuse, we will talk to you (and, where appropriate, your family or carer) about:
- The abuse you may have suffered
- What you want to happen next
- What other people including other professionals and carers can do to assist you.
- Help you to decide how we can stop the abuse and discuss how we can support you to recover
- Where possible, give you the opportunity to talk to an independent person such as an advocate
- Tailor our response to your particular needs and situation
- Create a plan to show who is going to do what (the plan will be shown to you and agreed with you. You can keep a copy if you wish and if it is safe for you to do so)
Whatever actions we all agree will help you, these will be reviewed with you, and any other people involved in stopping the abuse, to make sure the actions are working and to decide whether any changes need to be made.
“Making Safeguarding Personal”
The worker will always try to ensure that the adult affected by abuse is fully involved in the whole process of safeguarding.
This means that you will be provided with support and information, consulted throughout the process, encouraged to make your own decisions and to identify what you need to make yourself feel ‘safe’.
You will be asked what you want to happen and how you can be helped to keep yourself safe.
If the person involved lacks mental capacity to understand and make decisions around their own safeguarding, a Best Interests Decision will be made on their behalf, and this will often involve an independent advocate.
Does adult abuse just affect older people?
No. Older people can be the subject of abuse but so can younger, disabled adults or people with a learning disability.
Does abuse only happen in care homes?
No. Abuse is just as likely to occur in the community (in someone’s own home) as in a care home or nursing home. An abuser may be:
- A member of the family, a friend or neighbour
- A paid or unpaid carer
- Someone employed by the vulnerable person
- A professional
- Someone else receiving care
- Someone not known to the person at all
Unauthorised ‘Deprivations of Liberty’
If someone is being prevented from going out or doing what they want without proper authorisation, this is called a ‘deprivation of liberty’. This can be illegal and there are strict rules about this called the ‘Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards’ (DoLS), which are a part of the Mental Capacity Act (2005).
If you suspect that a person is being illegally deprived of their liberty – either in a care home or hospital or in the community – you should report this in the same way as any other type of abuse (see below).
What can you do if you suspect abuse is happening?
If you suspect abuse is happening – to you or someone you know – it is essential that you do something about it. Tell someone you trust, or someone who provides you / the person concerned with help or care, such as a trusted relative, friend or neighbour, doctor, community nurse, hospital nurse, or other health professional, home care assistant, member of staff.
To make a referral or to discuss a situation you are worried about with a trained social worker or duty officer, call (01225) 396000 (option 2) for someone living in Bath and North East Somerset or (01454) 868007 for someone living in South Gloucestershire (office hours).
At weekends, evenings and Bank Holidays, call the Emergency Duty Team on (01454) 615165.
If the situation is urgent, dial 999.
To contact the police for non-urgent situations, dial 101.