A vulnerable adult is any individual, 18 years old or older, who has physical, mental or functional difficulties in caring for themselves. It includes anyone of adult age who cannot protect themselves from harm and exploitation.
It is everyone’s responsibility to help protect vulnerable adults. We all have a right to live free from harm. Unfortunately, there are those among us who would take advantage of those with care and support needs.
The Care Act 2014, outlines six safeguarding principles that apply to all care settings. These principles are:
Anyone who may come into contact with vulnerable adults through a work or voluntary role must be aware of these principles and what they must do to support those with care needs.
There were nearly 500,000 safeguarding concerns of abuse raised in the latest year that data was available. This marked an increase of 5% on the previous year.
In addition, there were just over 150,000 Section 42 enquiries. A section 42 enquiry is the legal duty under the Care Act which requires local authorities to make enquiries if an adult may be at risk of abuse. Of the types of risks investigated, neglect and acts of omission were the most common, accounting for some 30% of the total.
When abused, vulnerable adults may not know how to ask for help. They may not be aware that they are experiencing abuse. It is the duty of anyone that works with such adults to ensure they are healthy and safe from abuse and have their rights protected.