What to do if you have a concern
Although the majority of care services provide excellent care and support, abuse can and does happen. This can be in residential care settings, supported or sheltered accommodation and in a person’s own home. Abuse can be perpetrated by family members, informal carers, paid health and social care workers and others who are involved in the life of an older person who may be vulnerable.
It is important that if you have a concern about the safety or welfare of an older person, you do something. You may be the only person who has suspicion or is in a position to help. Remember, however it is not your responsibility to solve the problem alone.
There are a number of ways you can help and various agencies you can contact for assistance or advice.
- If the person you are worried about is in immediate danger you should call 999 for the police of ambulance
- Consult your agency’s abuse procedures
- Report your concerns to your manager. If the concern is about your manager, report to their manager.
- Don’t promise confidentiality
- If abuse is disclosed to you by the person who has been abused record what they say, in their own words.
- Don’t prompt or ask leading questions
- Don’t try to investigate
- Provide comfort and support
- Don’t make judgements or jump to conclusions
- If the concern is not then investigated you can report to a higher level or to an outside agency. If you feel you need to do this take advice on making a protected disclosure. Your Trade Union or an organisation called Public Concern at Work can advise you.
The Role of Different Agencies
- The Police will investigate allegations or suspicions of a crime
- The Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care will respond to concerns about abuse in any registered care setting or by a registered care service. You do not have to give your name when reporting to the Care Commission although it helps an investigation if the caller’s details are known.
- Social Work has specific responsibility if the person being abused does not have full mental capacity, or if they are an existing client, or if they live in their own home. In most circumstances, Social Work will also have a lead safeguarding role which will involve assessment and, if required, the provision of services.
- The Office of Public Guardian has a responsibility where there is an abuse of Power of Attorney
- The Mental Welfare Commission has a role when someone who does not have mental capacity is abused.
- Advocacy Services can ensure the person who has been abused has a voice in any investigation or response. This will be independent of any service provider