Safeguarding Policy

Mere and District Link Scheme     Charity No: 1062328

Policy and Procedures for Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults from Abuse


1. This policy statement is formulated in recognition that abuse of vulnerable adults is widespread but frequently unrecognised in our society.  Abuse can take place in any situation, care setting or hospital, as well as at home.   Perpetration of abuse may be by someone in a position of trust, power or authority that uses his or her position to the detriment of the health, safety, or welfare and general wellbeing of a vulnerable person. The perpetrator may be a relative, friend or family member, or those charged with a voluntary or professional care role, another service user or a stranger.

2. Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons. The risk of being abused depends upon the situation, the environment and the perpetrators, not on the behaviour of victims.  Many incidents of abuse are criminal offences.

3. The prevention of abuse of vulnerable adults is the collective responsibility of all sections of society. However, those agencies, professionals, independent sector organisations and voluntary groups working with, or in contact with, vulnerable adults, hold a particular responsibility to ensure safe, effective services and to facilitate the prevention and early detection of abuse from whatever quarter, thus ensuring that appropriate protective action can be taken.

Philosophy Statement

4. The Mere and District Link Scheme (referred to as the Organisation) adopts the following philosophy statement in accordance with the principles contained within the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998:

  • all individuals have the right to live their lives free from coercion, intimidation, oppression and physical, sexual, emotional or mental harm;
  • all individuals have a right to a family life and privacy;
  • individuals have a right to confidentiality in respect of personal information insofar as this does not infringe the rights of other people;
  • all individuals have the right to receive full and comprehensive information to enable them to make informed choices about their own circumstances;
  • all individuals have the right to the protection of the law and access to the judicial process.

5. The Organisation is committed to ensuring that all volunteers and Trustees (within this policy, collectively known as ‘workers’) are aware of the nature of abuse in relation to vulnerable adults and know what to do should they suspect abuse. This policy covers the aims of the policy, definitions of abuse, and procedures to follow in the event of a disclosure or specific concerns about a vulnerable adult.


The following principles are endorsed by the organisation as fundamental to the protection of vulnerable adults:

6. The Organisation will:

a) work within the agreed inter-agency framework based on the guidance contained in the Care Act 2014.  (The Act’s main purpose is to empower Local Authorities to provide suitable protection and enforcement facilities but it provides a basis for general protection and reporting guidelines of other organizations. The 6 principles of the Care Act include empowerment, protection, prevention, proportionality, partnership, and accountability.)

b) work within the agreed procedures, guidance and protocols underpinning this framework to investigate abuse and manage protection;

c) promote the empowerment and well-being of vulnerable adults through the services provided by the Link Scheme;

d) support the rights of the individual to lead an independent life based on self determination and personal choice;

e) recognise people who are unable to take their own decisions and/or protect themselves, their assets and their bodily integrity;

f) ensure the safety of vulnerable adults by integrating strategies, policies and services relevant to abuse;

g) ensure that the law and statutory requirements are known and used appropriately so that vulnerable adults receive the protection of the law and access to the judicial process;

h) promote an organisational culture within which all those who express concern will be treated seriously and will receive a positive response from management.


7. To ensure that as an Organisation we practice safe recruitment, checking with DBS that all workers are suitable to work with vulnerable adults.

8. To ensure that the Trustees have received up to date training on safeguarding vulnerable adults.

9. To ensure that all workers are aware of the Organisation’s policies and procedures in this regard.

10. To ensure that there is a clear line of responsibility for reporting incidents and their follow-up.


11. Definition of Abuse

“Any act or failure to act, which results in a significant breach of a vulnerable person’s human rights, civil liberties, bodily integrity, dignity or general well-being, whether intended or inadvertent, including sexual relationships or financial transactions to which a person has not or cannot validly consent or which are deliberately exploitative”

(Safeguarding Adults and Children with Disabilities against abuse: Council of Europe 2002 and Care Act 2014)

12. Abuse may include one or more of the following:

a) Physical abuse: actual or likely physical injury to a vulnerable adult, including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, inappropriate restraint, or inappropriate sanctions, forcing someone to stay somewhere against their will.

b) Sexual abuse: including rape and sexual assault, contact or non-contact sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented or could not consent or was pressurised into consenting.

c) Domestic violence: may be psychological, physical, sexual, financial, or emotional towards someone in the family home with care and support needs.

e) Psychological abuse: all abuse has an emotional content – including threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact or communication, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal of services or supportive networks.

f) Financial or material abuse: including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits, any change in financial circumstances which cannot be explained.

g) Discriminatory abuse: including that based on a person’s ethnic origin, religion, language, age, sexuality, gender, disability, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.

h) Neglect or Acts of Omission: including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating; failure to report abuse or risk of abuse.

i) Organisational Abuse: indicated by repeated instances of unsatisfactory professional practice, pervasive ill treatment or gross misconduct indicating an abusive climate within an institution or care setting; can also include professional care at home. May be through neglect, or poor professional standards resulting from inadequate structures, policies or resources within an organisation.

j) Historical Abuse: there may be times when a vulnerable adult (or their carer) may disclose abuse that has occurred in the past. As the abuser may still represent a risk to other vulnerable adults, this information must be treated in the same way as current disclosures of abuse. The person making the disclosure must be made aware that we will need to act on the information.

k) Self-neglect: can cover a wide range of behaviours, such as a person ceasing to care for their personal hygiene, health or surroundings, not eating properly, alcohol abuse. This could include hoarding.

l) Modern Slavery: this encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and generally inhumane treatment.


13. Drivers and Co-ordinators are not responsible for diagnosing abuse but they have a responsibility to be alert for the signs of abuse, and to ensure that they are familiar with the Organisation’s policies and procedures.

14. If there is no clear disclosure, or evidence of abuse, but a driver has grounds for concern, this should be discussed in the first instance with the Lead Co-ordinator or, if she is not available, the Chair of Trustees.

a) Clear records should be written on the attached form detailing the nature of the driver’s concerns with the date, time and locations of relevant events and conversations, which will help assessment of the situation. All contacts and evidence should be clearly recorded and retained by the Lead Co-ordinator.

b) Regular review: if the concerns continue, they should be followed up with the Chair of Trustees, who will consult with Wiltshire Council Adult Social Care team or equivalent appropriate authorities in other supported areas.

15. When a disclosure of abuse is made, the Lead Coordinator should take the following action:

1. Inform the discloser immediately that confidentiality cannot be maintained as the information must be passed on to the appropriate people. If possible/appropriate they should be encouraged to do so themselves, with help and support.

2. Inform the Chair of Trustees immediately, or if not available, another Trustee.

3. The Chair (or Trustee) will be responsible for contacting the appropriate authorities.

4. The person making the disclosure needs to be informed of what has been done by the Link Scheme and what will happen next, either by the Chair of Trustees, or the Lead Co-ordinator.

5. The Lead Co-ordinator or Chair of Trustees must record information about disclosures or events causing concern within 24 hours where practical. The Chair will follow up a telephone referral to the appropriate agency in writing to them within 2 working days where practical, detailing the date and time of the referral, the name of the referrer and the social worker taking the call, and summarising the salient points.

6. The Chair of Trustees must be kept informed at all stages of the investigation and of the eventual outcomes.

This policy with procedures was issued in November 2023 using information available at the time and due consideration must be given to any subsequent changes in good practice and legislation. It is to be reviewed annually.

John FitzGerald

Chair of Trustees – Mere & District Link Scheme