Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults (SOVA) Level 2 (VTQ)

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Guidelines for Addressing Disclosures in Health and Social Care

Respecting Confidentiality with Care

In the realm of health and social care, safeguarding an individual's right to confidentiality is paramount. However, professionals have a duty of care that might necessitate sharing information, especially when there's potential risk.

Responding to Disclosures

When confronted with sensitive information, it's essential to adopt a supportive and empathetic approach:

  • Always remain calm and address any immediate concerns.
  • Let the individual speak freely without interruptions.
  • Display understanding and empathy.
  • Inform them of your obligation to report the incident while ensuring confidentiality beyond this reporting.
  • Avoid excessive questioning; focus only on clarification.
  • Take every disclosure seriously, regardless of the individual's state of clarity.
  • Reassure the person, affirming that the abuse isn't their fault.

Best Practices During a Disclosure

Pay close attention to:

  • Details shared, as these will be vital for reporting.
  • Body language and non-verbal cues.
  • Note-taking without altering or adding to the individual's account.
  • Any forensic evidence, especially in recent cases.

Post-Disclosure Actions

After a disclosure, ensure the individual feels supported and safeguarded:

  • Consult the individual on the next steps.
  • Guarantee the utmost sensitivity in any consequent investigations.
  • Document the disclosure, preferably using the person's own words.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

  • Refrain from promising secrecy.
  • Avoid contact with the alleged offender.
  • Steer clear of judgmental stances.
  • Do not trivialise or make jest of the shared information.
  • Limit the disclosure to only your line manager, respecting confidentiality.
  • Never ignore or invalidate the shared information.

Sharing Information Responsibly

While the Data Protection Act doesn't inhibit sharing abuse information, it's essential to:

  • Be transparent about your intentions to share data.
  • Acquire consent when suitable.
  • Share only crucial details, ensuring they're timely, accurate, and secure.
  • Document instances of information-sharing and the rationale behind them.

Additional Resources

For further guidance, refer to the Disclosure and Barring Code of Practice, available through your student login along with other pertinent documents and websites.