Fact Sheet No: FS7
Name of Service: Safeguarding (protecting ) vulnerable adults from abuse
Service Type: Information & Advice
Summary of Service
Wiltshire Council is committed to working with other agencies in to ensure the safety and well-being of vulnerable; people living in Wiltshire.
One way in which they do this is to prevent the abuse of vulnerable adults and to investigate any concerns that a vulnerable person is being abused.
Content of Fact Sheet
This fact sheet explains:
- What we mean by the “abuse of vulnerable adults”.
- How you can report any concerns that you have about a vulnerable adult being harmed.
- What will happen when you report the abuse of a vulnerable adult?
- How you can obtain further information about what the Council is doing about the abuse of vulnerable adults in Wiltshire.
- How to contact organisations in Wiltshire that offer information and advice on safeguarding vulnerable people.
- How to contact national organisations that offer information and advice on safeguarding vulnerable people.
- What to do if you if you have concerns about the safety and well-being of a child.
What do we mean by the “abuse of vulnerable adults”?
Who is a “vulnerable adult”?
A vulnerable adult is someone who is over 18 and may be:
- in need of community care services because of a disability, age or illness, and
- is unable to take care of him or herself, or
- is unable to stop someone else from harming or exploiting them.
A vulnerable adult may be someone with a learning disability, mental health needs, a physical or sensory impairment or may be elderly and frail.
What is abuse?
Abuse is something that is done to another person and that harms them in some way. It may be a single act or continue over a period of time and can be either deliberate or accidental.
Abuse can take several forms and may include one or more of the following:
- Physical abuse: Causing someone physical harm, for example by hitting, pushing or kicking them, misusing medication, causing someone to be burnt or scalded, controlling what someone eats, restraining someone inappropriately or depriving them of liberty.
- Sexual abuse: Sexual acts to which a person has not or cannot give their consent or which they have been pressurised into. For example rape, inappropriate touching or use of sexualised language.
- Psychological abuse: Causing someone mental and emotional distress by using threats, humiliation, control, intimidation, harassment, verbal abuse or depriving them of contact with other people.
- Financial abuse: Taking money, goods or property without permission. This can include theft, fraud, exploitation or putting pressure on someone to make a will, transfer the ownership of property or carry out other financial transactions.
- Neglect: Failure to provide access to services to meet a person’s health, social care or educational needs or withholding the necessities of life such as medication, food and heating.
- Discriminatory abuse: Treating someone in a less favourable way and causing them harm, because of their age, gender, sexuality, disability, ethnic origin or religion
- Institutional abuse: Services that fail to recognise the rights of service users and offer a poor quality of care or which condone ways of working which cause harm to vulnerable people.
Who abuses vulnerable adults?
Anyone can abuse a vulnerable person. This includes:
- friends and neighbours
- other users of a service
- someone paid to provide a health or social care service
Most abusers are people already known to the vulnerable adult but some people will deliberately exploit or harm individuals who they see as easy targets.
Where can the abuse take place?
Abuse can take place anywhere. This includes:
- A person’s own home
- A friend or relative’s home
- A hospital
- A care home
- A day service
- An educational establishment
- A public place
If you have any concerns about a vulnerable person being abused you should contact the Social Care Help Desk or one of the Wiltshire Police Vulnerable Adults’ Units.
Social Care Help Desk
Tel: 0300 456 0111
Textphone: 01225 712501
Weekdays: Monday – Thursday - 08:30 – 17:20 Friday - 08:30 – 16:20
If you need urgent help outside of these hours, you can telephone the Emergency Duty Service on
Tel: 0845 607 0888
Wiltshire Police Vulnerable Adults’ Units
Weekdays: 8.00am – 4.30pm
All based in one unit in Devizes. The telephone number of the Unit is 01380 734212.
Weekends and weekdays: 4.30pm -8.00am
In an emergency dial 999 (Please note that your call will be recorded)
What to do if you think that a vulnerable adult is being abused in Swindon
Information on what to do if you are concerned about a vulnerable person living in Swindon is available on the Swindon Borough Council Website: “No secrets in Swindon and Wiltshire No Secrets in Wiltshire and Swindon 505kb” booklet.
Wiltshire Police Vulnerable Adults’ Unit Swindon
Weekdays: 9am – 4.30pm
Tel: 01793 507828
Police Out of Hours and Emergency contact as above.
What will happen when you report the abuse of a vulnerable adult?
Your concern will always be taken seriously.
Once you have made a referral to the Social Care Help Desk or the Wiltshire Police, staff from the Department of Community Services, the Police and other appropriate organisations will meet together.
They will decide how the allegation or suspicion should be investigated using the Policy and procedures for safeguarding vulnerable adults in Swindon and Wiltshire Policy and Procedure for Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults in Swindon and Wiltshire” (2006 revised 2011) 960kb.
Further information on what are we are doing about the abuse of vulnerable adults in Wiltshire
Copies of the publications described below can be obtained by clicking the link on the website or by
- emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
- phoning 0300 4560111
or by writing to:
Social Care Helpdesk
- The Wiltshire Local Safeguarding Adults’ Board
Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police, Health Services, Wiltshire Probation Area and the Commission for Social Care Inspection have formed a Local Safeguarding Adults’ Board.
The purpose of the Local Safeguarding Adults’ Board is to enable organisations to work together to try to prevent vulnerable people being abused and to ensure that any concerns about someone being abused are investigated thoroughly.
- LSAB Annual Report 2007-2008 The 2007 -2008 Annual Report of the Wiltshire Local Safeguarding Adults’ Board 303kb describes in more detail some of the work undertaken by the Wiltshire Local Safeguarding Adults’ Board.
- Policy and procedures for safeguarding vulnerable adults in Swindon and Wiltshire Policy and Procedure for Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults in Swindon and Wiltshire (2006 revised 2011) 960kb. The “Policy and Procedure for Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults in Swindon and Wiltshire” (Safeguarding Adults’ Procedure) sets out how organisations in Wiltshire will work together to investigate any allegations or suspicions that a vulnerable person is being abused.
This Procedure was developed in conjunction with the Swindon Local Safeguarding Adults’ Board.
The Safeguarding Adults’ Procedure is used to investigate all allegations of abuse even if a person is in hospital, funding their own care services or is being funded by an authority outside Swindon or Wiltshire.
Private and voluntary sector organisations that provide services to vulnerable people in Wiltshire and Swindon have agreed to use the Safeguarding Adults’ Procedure if they are concerned that a vulnerable person is being abused.
- People Safe in Wiltshire A booklet called “Keeping People safe in Wiltshire" explains what is meant by abuse and what to do if you or someone else you know is being abused. It has been developed with the help of Wiltshire People 1st and Wilshire and Swindon Users’ Network and is easy to understand. Please note that this booklet may take a long time to download as it has a lot of pictures in it.
- “No Secrets in Swindon and Wiltshire“ A booklet called “No Secrets in Swindon and Wiltshire” explains more about abuse and what staff and volunteers working in health, housing education and social care organisations should do if they have concerns about someone being abused.
Other useful links
- Domestic Violence: For information about Domestic Violence.
- Whistleblowing: For information on Whistleblowing: reporting something that you are concerned about in your workplace.
- Safer Communities Community safety, anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and substance misuse can affect individuals, families and communities. The team work to plan and co-ordinate activities to address these issues.
- Trading Standards
- Mental Capacity Act and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
Age UK Wiltshire: http://www.ageukwiltshire.org.uk
Age UK Wiltshire promotes the well being of older people and provides direct services to older people across East, West Wiltshire and North Wiltshire.
Age UK Wiltshire
13 Market Place
Tel: 01380 727767
Fax: 01380 728797
South Wilts Advocacy Network Web - www.swanadvocacy.org.uk/
SWAN provides Independent Advocacy and Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy across South, North, East and West Wiltshire. SWAN focuses on adults who because of illness, disability or age may have difficulty speaking up or speaking out about issues that are directly affecting their life and choices.
SWAN Advocacy Network
26 Milford Street
Tel: 01722 341 851
Fax: 01722 341 379
Victim Support Wiltshire - www.victimsupport.org.uk
Victim Support Wiltshire offers advice and support to people who have been victims of a crime. They also offer support for victims at Courts in Chippenham, Devizes, Salisbury and Swindon
Victim Support in Wiltshire
Wiltshire Area Office
9 Prince Maurice Court
Tel: 01380 738888
Fax: 01380 738877
Wiltshire Rape Support Line Web
Victim Support Wiltshire also runs the Wiltshire Rape Support Line which provides a free and confidential service supporting both male and female survivors of rape, childhood abuse, any type of sexual assault and domestic violence. Trained volunteers will listen and offer support in a non-judgmental way, no matter how long ago the incident occurred.
Tel: 0808 800 1144 or 01793 541144.
Wiltshire and Swindon Users’ Network Web
Wiltshire and Swindon Users’ Network is a network of people who use Health and Social Services and their allies. The Network promotes user involvement in all aspects of Community Care.
Wiltshire & Swindon Users' Network
Independent Living Centre,
Tel: 01380 871800
Wiltshire People 1st Web
Wiltshire People 1st is a self advocacy group for people with learning difficulties.
Wiltshire People 1st
Independent Living Centre
St. Georges Road,
Staff within the Public Protection Department aim to prevent harm or further harm to vulnerable victims and bring perpetrators to justice and prevent them from re-offending.
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust - www.awp.nhs.uk
Primary Care Trust - www.wiltshirepct.nhs.uk/
PCT safeguarding policy - not currently available - will be restored as soon as possible
Bobby Van - www.wiltshirebobbyvan.org.uk
The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust (WBVT) provides a home security service for elderly, vulnerable and disadvantaged people throughout Wiltshire.
The Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust
Chippenham Police Station
Tel: 01225 794652
Swindon Council - www.swindon.gov.uk/vulnerableadults
National organisations that offer information and advice on safeguarding vulnerable people
- The Department of Health: www.dh.gov.uk/en/SocialCare/Deliveringadultsocialcare/Vulnerableadults/index.htm
To download the “No Secrets” (2000) Guidance or Safeguarding Adults: A review of the No Secrets Guidance (2007)
- The Independent Safeguarding Authority: www.isa-gov.org.uk
For information on the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006,) the work of the Independent Safeguarding Authority and the new vetting and barring scheme for staff and volunteers working with children and vulnerable adults (from July 2010).
- Safeguarding vulnerable groups act
The primary aim of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act is to strengthen current safeguarding arrangements for individuals in the workplace. Its purpose is to reduce the risk of individuals suffering harm at the hands of those employed (in either a paid or voluntary capacity) to work with them.
- The Care Quality Commission : www.cqc.org.uk
For information on standards in Hospitals, Community Health Services, Care Homes and Domiciliary Care Agencies.
Care Quality Commission
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 03000 616161
- The Association of Directors of Adult Services (ADASS): Download Safeguarding Adults - A National Framework of Standards for good practice and outcomes in adult protection work” (2005)
- Action on Elder Abuse - www.elderabuse.org.uk
Provides information and advice on the abuse of older people
Helpline: 0808 808 8141
- Nursing home abuse www.nursinghomeabuse.net
Founded by the National Association to Stop Nursing Home Abuse (NASNHA), nursinghomeabuse.net is dedicated to preventing the causes and repairing the consequences of nursing home abuse.
VOICE UK - www.voiceuk.org.uk
Supporting people with learning disabilities who have been abused
Helpline: 0845122 8695;
- Respond - www.respond.org.uk
Provides support, counselling and advice for people with learning disabilities who have experienced abuse
Helpline: 0808 808 0700
- Mind - www.mind.org.uk
Provides support for people who are experiencing mental distress
Mind info Line: 0845 766 0163
- WITNESS - www.popan.org.uk
Formerly the Prevention of Professional Abuse Network – POPAN. Advises people who have been abused within a professional relationship WITNESS no longer provides a Helpline.
- Public Concern at Work - www.pcaw.co.uk
Information and advice if you are concerned about danger or malpractice in your work place
Tel: 020 7404 6609:
What to do if you if you have concerns about the safety and well-being of a child
- If you are concerned about the safety and well-being of a child view Wiltshire Single Agency: Single Agency Child Protection Process and www.wiltshire.gov.uk/healthandsocialcare/childrenyoungpeoplefamilies/childprotection.htm
- For general information on safeguarding children view the Every Child Matters website: www.everychildmatters.gov.uk currently offline.
- This Fact Sheet can be produced, on request, in other formats and languages. Please contact the Social Care Help Desk on 0300 4560111
Last updated: 14 March 2014