Adults at risk - responding to disclosures and taking action

Adults at risk - responding to disclosures and taking action

Posted on Sep 02, 2016

Adults at risk - responding to disclosures and taking action



Government figures show that in the year ending March 2014, there were 104,050 adult safeguarding referrals in England alone. Training your staff and ensuring they know who the safeguarding lead is when it comes to disclosures and dealing with adult abuse referrals is paramount when it comes to safeguarding.


Your reactions count

How you react, what you say, and how you handle the situation regarding disclosures is hugely important.

The abused person may not understand that they are being, or have been abused and might not realise the significance or severity of what they are telling you. It may be the case that the disclosure is happening many months or even years after the abuse took place, one reason for the delay in disclosure may be the person they were afraid of has left the setting or organisation and they now feel safe to tell you.


What to do

Speaking out is never easy. So, if someone does confide in you, it’s important that you listen carefully to what you’re being told.

Be aware of your body language and tone of voice; stay calm and try not to let the disbelief or shock you may feel show.

It’s important that you let the person know you’re sorry this has happened to them, and that what has happened isn’t their fault. Remember to tell them they have done the right thing telling you and that you will keep them informed and involved in any decisions.

Letting the person know that you are taking them seriously is most important, and assuring them that steps will be taken to prevent them from any further harm. You may also consider asking the person what action they’d like you to take.

If you believe the person is in immediate danger, or I in need of urgent medical assistance you must contact the emergency services.


What not to do

Don’t press the person for more information, remember, it’s not your job to investigate the situation. If the matter is referred to the adult social care team, they will decide who, how and what to investigate.

Never promise to keep secrets as you cannot keep the information they have shared with you confidential – you must report it. Likewise, don’t make promises you can’t keep, such as "I will never let this happen to you again”.

Don’t be judgemental or jump to any conclusions – just focus on the person and listen.


Taking action

After speaking with the adult, you need to pass on your concern immediately to the person that has safeguarding responsibility within your organisation.

You will need to make a record of the disclosure. This will need to be a written record and contain accurate details of the disclosure – try not to paraphrase and use the actual words that were spoken. Always stick to facts and be as specific as you can. Sign and date the report when you have completed it.


Safeguarding training

Providing your staff or volunteers with the correct training when it comes to safeguarding adults is key if you come into contact with adults at risk.

flick's e-learning course provides a thorough understanding of how to recognise adult abuse, the forms of abuse, acting on concerns, and reporting abuse. It’s CPD certified training and included in the flick subscription.


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