In a nutshell …
In principle, anyone can be abused (physically, sexually, emotionally, financially), but some people are more prone to abuse than others, for a variety of reasons. This chapter won’t give you a comprehensive understanding of the issues involved, but it will give you at least a basic understanding of why you need to understand the potential for abuse and your role in preventing it where possible and reporting it where necessary. The five sets of issues covered in this chapter are:
Abuse and its effects
Responding to abuse
Confidentiality and its boundaries
What to do if an allegation is made against you
No one is entirely free of the danger of being abused, and so in that sense all people are vulnerable to a certain extent. However, it is important to recognise that older and/or disabled people can be much more vulnerable in general and at certain times in particular. So, the first video you are about to watch explains in more detail what it means to be ‘vulnerable’.
Video 3.1: Understanding vulnerability
People who have not been abused or have not worked directly with people who have experienced abuse may not appreciate how much harm abuse can cause. So, in this part of Chapter 3 we are going to explore the various effects abuse can have. This should make it clear why it is essential to take abuse issues seriously and not allow any complacency to creep in.
You should now watch the next two videos in turn.
Video 3.2: Types of abuse
Video 3.3: Abuse and its effects
It is to be hoped that abuse issues won’t arise for the person you are supporting, but if they do, what should you do? What is your role in this situation? That is precisely what this next video is about.
Video 3.4: Responding to abuse
Confidentiality is an important concern, whether in general or directly relating to matters of abuse. Indeed, not respecting somebody’s confidentiality is a breach of trust and could therefore be seen as an abuse (of power) in its own right. So, it is essential to be crystal clear about what confidentiality means, why it is important to respect it and what its limits are.
So, what you need to do now is watch the next two videos.
Video 3.5: What is confidentiality?
Video 3.6: Confidentiality and its boundaries:
The protection of vulnerable adults is everyones responsibility and should be taken seriously; whether you are a witness to abuse or are an alleged perpetrator. Within this chapter, we hope and anticipate that you will be able to identify signs of abuse, to respond to abuse appropriately by knowing your responsibilities; and that the likelihood of you being accused of abuse would be reduced. If you are ever accused of perpetrating abuse, you have available to you the document below (which can also be downloaded here) and speak to your union rep if you are a member of a trade union such as UNISON for further advice.
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