1. Introduction
    1. 1st Sensory Legion is committed to ensuring that vulnerable people who use our services are not exploited or abused and that working practices minimise the risk of abuse. If abuse is reported to us, or if staff recognise abuse, this policy recognises what steps should be taken. This policy does not preclude our Equal Opportunities Policy but is designed to work within it.
    2. The term “vulnerable adult” covers people aged eighteen and over, who are dependent on the care of others for their safety and wellbeing.
    3. Abuse is defined as:
      • PHYSICAL: Hitting, slapping, burning, pushing, restraining, overmedication, giving a person the wrong medication, inappropriate manual handling.
      • FINANCIAL: Theft, misuse of money, possessions or property
      • SEXUAL: Involving a person in sexual activity without their consent or to which they are unable to give informed consent.
      • NEGLECT: Depriving a person of food, heat, clothing, comfort or essential medication, also neglect of personal hygiene.
      • EMOTIONAL: Acts of shouting, swearing, frightening behaviour, blaming, ignoring or humiliating a person to cause them mental anguish, also denial of basic rights, depriving one of normal social contacts and episodes of bullying.
  2. Setting where the abuse takes place
    1. Abuse can take place in any setting:
      • At home
      • In sheltered housing
      • At day centres
      • In residential care
      • In nursing homes
      • In hospital
      • In other institutions
      • In social and leisure settings
    2. There are a number of signs and symptoms of abuse, for example:
      • Frequent minor injuries or bruising
      • Depression
      • Neglected appearance/poor hygiene
      • Weight loss
      • Change in eating patterns/loss of appetite
  3. What to do if abuse is reported or suspected
    1. If, as a member of staff or volunteer, you have concerns about the possible abuse of a person using our service, you should inform your immediate superior/manager. Concerns should then be shared and discussed. The facts should be thoroughly checked and the person who is the subject of the concern should be made aware of the process.
    2. If there is a specific incident that leads you to suspect that a person has been or is being abused you must seek an urgent discussion with your superior/line manager/committee member.
    3. The supervisor/line manager dependent on the information received will contact the appropriate agency (i.e. Social Services who may carry out an assessment of the person’s needs). If an individual needs immediate protective action, it may be necessary to contact the police.
    4. 1st Sensory Legion will take steps to ensure that no vulnerable adult supported by the organisation remains in an unsafe or unsupported situation if such is reported or confirmed.
  4. Staff and volunteers
    1. It is recognised that dealing with allegations of abuse can be stressful.
    2. 1st Sensory Legion will offer staff as much support during the process as resources permit. People supported by the organisation will be informed of the Vulnerable Adults Policy to provide clarity about our obligations.
    3. If allegations are made against staff or volunteers the Trustees will refer to 1st Sensory Legion’s Disciplinary Procedure as normal taking the Vulnerable Adults Policy into account. The rights of staff under the Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures will still apply.
  5. Confidentiality
    1. Though our policies contain confidentiality clauses it must be stressed that where abuse to someone supported by the organisation is alleged, suspected, reported or concerns are raised, management should be notified. The person supported by the organisation should be made aware that staff cannot ignore issues around abuse and that steps will be taken to deal firmly with them in as sensitive a manner as possible.