What is safeguarding?

"Adult Safeguarding" is working with adults with care and support needs to keep them safe from abuse or neglect.  it is an important part of what many public services do, and a key responsibility of local authorities. 

Safeguarding is aimed at people with care and support needs who may be in vulnerable circumstances and at risk of abuse or neglect.  in these cases, local services must work together to spot those at risk and take steps to protect them.

Abuse is when someone does or says something which harms you and makes you upset and scared.  It is always unacceptable; everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect.

Abuse can be a single one off act or something that happens over weeks, months or years.

Abuse can happen in lots of different ways. Abuse and neglect can be defined in may ways and there can be no exhaustive list, however the most recent guidance from the government identifies the following types of abuse and neglect:

Physical abuse - Physical abuse includes assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, being locked in a room, inappropriate sanctions or force-feeding, inappropriate methods of restraint, and unlawfully depriving a person of their liberty.

Domestic abuse - An incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse... by someone who is or has been an intimate partner or family member regardless of gender or sexuality. Includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so-called 'honour-based' violence; Female Genital Mutilation; forced marriage.

Sexual abuse - Sexual abuse including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.      

Psychological abuse - Psychological abuse includes 'emotional abuse' and takes the form of threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, rejection, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, indifference, harassment, verbal abuse (including shouting or swearing), cyber bullying, isolation or withdrawal from services or support networks.

Financial or Material abuse - This includes theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult's financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Modern Slavery - Modern slavery encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced and compulsory labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. . 

Discriminatory Abuse - This includes discrimination on the grounds of race, faith or religion, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation and political views, along with racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist comments or jokes, or comments and jokes based on a person's disability or any other form of harassment, slur or similar treatment.

Organisational Abuse - Including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, or where care is provided within their own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation. 

Neglect & Acts of Omission - These include ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, and the withholding of the necessities of life such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

Self Neglect - Self-neglect entails neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding. 

It is important if you or someone you know is being abused, that you tell someone so that they can help.

Are you worried about someone who may be being abused, hurt or bullied, or have you been abused, hurt and bullied yourself?

Listen to our audio leaflet - Adult abuse

Gloucestershire County Council Learning Disability Team commissioned Gloucestershire Voices to make a film about sexual abuse. The film uses actors to tell the story of an adult with learning disabilities who has experienced sexual abuse and what they did to get help and support.

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