Yesterday, Community Care reported that as a response to the consultation on changes to the ‘No Secrets’ guidance on Safeguarding Adults published in 2000, Safeguarding Adults Boards will be mandatory for all English local authorities and an inter-ministerial board will be created between the Department of Health, Department of Justice and Home Office.
Well, it’s a start, I suppose. In my own experience, procedures and support have been virtually toothless in safeguarding adults procedures – especially if there are additional areas of incapacity involved where the abused party is not able to make statements or complaints themselves.
I could share many stories of lack of action – mostly as the procedures which currently exist do not have much force to them.
We do our investigations and reach conclusions but personally, I can say that response from the police has been minimal if it exists at all – and then where do ou go with the information? The investigations can be paper exercises and the offending party is told to act in a specific way. Vulnerable adults don’t pluck on the same heartstrings as vulnerable children even though the act of abuse is no better or worse. Abuse of someone who is vulnerable is abuse, regardless of the age of those concerned.
This is currently one of the most frustrating issues about the work that I undertake. Hopefully these ‘boards’ will push for more action to be taken when there are cases brought to them.
The positives are that now there is a law against mistreatment of vulnerable adults (thanks to the Mental Capacity Act 2005) – in fact, we are dealing with an issue which might lead to prosecution at present, but the amounts of times things have had to be ‘let go’ due to lack of motivation to make changes or we are told that cases will not be brought to court because the victim is not a reliable witness, well, I wouldn’t like to say.
More focus on adult protection is, without doubt, a priority in my view. Hopefully, this places it as a priority.