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You should know what to do if you suspect abuse or if abuse is disclosed or made known to you.

All suspicions of abuse have to be followed up formally. It is your responsibility to respond to allegations or suspicions in line with your workplace safeguarding policies and procedures.

You must be familiar with the following:

  • What you should do if you suspect abuse is taking place, including who you should report to in the first instance
  • What you should do if it is not appropriate to raise your concerns with that person
  • What you should do if you feel that your concerns have not been addressed or if you experience a barrier in any part of the process.

You will need to refer to your employers’ policies and procedures or speak to your manager to make sure you know what you should do in each of these circumstances.

In an emergency situation, you must take action to protect the safety and well-being of the person being abused. If they need medical assistance you should call for a suitably qualified colleague, this will be different in a hospital than it is in the community, where you would call 999 for an ambulance. If you suspect that injuries are not accidental, make sure they are aware of this, so they can preserve evidence that could be used in a criminal case. You should speak to your manager about the next steps to take. If an offence has been committed it may be necessary to contact the police and a safeguarding investigation may need to be started immediately.

If an individual tells you that they have been, or are being been abused you must:

  • Reassure them that you will take what they are saying seriously and support them to communicate in the best way for them.
  • Tell them you cannot keep what they are telling you a secret as you have a duty to protect them from harm
  • Listen carefully to what they are telling you
  • Reassure them that they will be involved in decisions about what will happen
  • Do not be judgmental or jump to conclusions.

You should record what the person tells you. Where available you should use the locally agreed form and use their own words to ensure that it is non-biased and you do not forget any details. The report should be factual and not contain your views. Sign and date the report and make sure that the disclosure is reported to your manager.