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What legislation governs safeguarding?

What does ‘safeguarding a vulnerable adult’ mean?

There are many reasons why vulnerable adults need extra care.
Adults who have been classified as vulnerable can be more likely to experience mistreatment, and there is always the risk of someone taking advantage if you’re not watchful enough for them.

Safeguarding adults is a way to prevent any mistreatment, whether it is physical, emotional, mental or financial.

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 What legislation governs safeguarding adults?

 Safeguarding vulnerable adults is a major concern across the UK.

The main piece of legislation governing safeguarding adults is the Care Act 2014 which sets out a clear legal framework for how local authorities and other parts of the system should protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect.

The Care Act 2014

Under this act, local UK authorities have safeguarding duties that have been created to protect vulnerable adults.

They must:

  • Lead a multi-agency local adult safeguarding system that seeks to prevent abuse and neglect.
  • Make enquiries when they think a vulnerable adult may be at risk or abuse or neglect.
  • Establish safeguarding adults boards, to include local authority, NHS and police who will implement a joint safeguarding strategy.
  • Carry out safeguarding adult reviews when someone with care and support needs dies as a result of neglect or abuse.
  • Arrange for an independent advocate to represent and support a person who is the subject of a safeguarding enquiry or review.

Other legislations that are relevant to safeguarding vulnerable adults:

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act (2006)

This is a system whereby employers can check the suitability of employees or volunteers, to work with children or vulnerable adults.

It was established to try and solve failures identified by the 2004 Bichard Inquiry, which was carried out after media attention on the Soham murders when two young girls, Holly Marie Wells and Jessica Aimee Chapman, were murdered in Cambridgeshire by their school caretaker Ian Huntley.

Health and Social Care Act (2012)

The main element of this Act for safeguarding vulnerable adults is Regulation 13.

This section is there to protect adults within the health and social care systems from being abused.

There are also provisions that prevent restraints being used incorrectly, and removing someone’s liberty improperly.

Mental Capacity Act (2005)

Applying to anyone over the age of 16, the key principles of the Act are:

  • Until proven otherwise, it is assumed the adult can make their own decisions
  • You can offer support to someone to make their own choices
  • Allow for mistakes as a poor and unwise decision doesn’t automatically mean someone lacks mental capacity
  • A person acting on the behalf of someone considered to not have the mental capacity must act in their best interests

Equality Act (2010)

When assessing whether an adult is vulnerable, there must not be any discrimination based around the following protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

Human Rights Act (1998)

There are four articles that are directly relevant when it comes to safeguarding adults:

  • Article 2 protects the right to life
  • Article 3 affords freedom from degrading and inhumane treatment
  • Article 5 enshrines the right to liberty and security
  • Article 8 guarantees the right to a private life, family life, and a home life.

Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Online Training

For those looking to learn more about safeguarding vulnerable adults and the key legislation that gives protection to we offer online training courses with up to date, engaging content to give learners the knowledge and skills required to identify signs of abuse and neglect and the process of making referrals and what happens once a referral has been made.

Safeguarding adults level 1 which is a general awareness course for anyone in any industry looking to increase their knowledge of safeguarding.

Safeguarding adults level 2 is a course suitable for any person with safeguarding responsibilities within their life or job role, for example designated safeguarding leaders or managers in any industry.

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