2.2 Explain actions to take if there are suspicions that an individual is being abused

Course: NVQ Level 4 Diploma In Health And Social Care (RQF)

Unit 12: Understand safeguarding and protection in health and social care settings

LO2: Understand how to respond to suspected or alleged abuse

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2.2 Explain actions to take if there are suspicions that an individual is being abused

The signs of abuse can be subtle, and as a care worker, if you suspect an individual is being abused it’s important to know what steps are recommended. You should make notes of your concerns, and follow local procedures if you suspect that someone is being abused.

If you are concerned about a person in your care then the first thing to do is to assess the level of risk. If you have immediate concerns for their safety it’s important to act quickly. This will involve calling the police, ambulance, or other emergency services immediately.

When making your initial assessment try not to further upset them by questioning them in detail, obtaining detailed information might upset them so initially it’s best just to ask them what they need in order to feel safe. Make sure they know where they are, where their belongings are, and who they can trust when doing so. Even with this in mind, there may still be times when questions must be asked and in order to do this, it’s also important to make sure you’ve established a trusting relationship.

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If the person has been abused in the past then getting them out of the situation as soon as possible may be enough, sometimes abusers will harm or frighten their victims when they’re trying to escape; police advice is that you should try and get them to safety without putting yourself at risk. If they are unable to leave immediately because of an injury, drugs, or alcohol or because they feel threatened, then it might be necessary for you to stay with them until help arrives. It’s always best to assess these situations on a case-by-case basis, assessing how strong their attachment is with there could give you some clues about the situation. If the person is very young or disabled then it may be that they are unable to leave and will need extra support and in this case, you should call the police and ask for an assessment, in order to ensure their safety.

If you’re still concerned about the way a person is being treated when professionals arrive, remember to give them all available information so they can investigate. Try not to put yourself at risk while doing so, if possible move them away from danger until help arrives. Always keep notes on your concerns and how you responded, either taken by hand or audio recorded, if required these will be used as evidence in court. Make sure you inform any staff members of your actions during your shift so they know what happened, without this, it might be difficult for them to assist if the situation arises again.

By reading this course you will be able to understand what steps are recommended when you suspect an individual is being abused, by doing this you can ensure that they are safe and can receive help urgently. If you have any concerns about a person in your care then remember to assess the level of risk first, call emergency services if there is immediate danger, but try not to upset them further with detailed questioning. If the person has been abused before, get them out of the situation as quickly as possible; if they are unable to leave immediately because of an injury or threat of violence it’s best to stay with them until help arrives. If someone does disclose abuse while talking with them, remember to assess the situation, call the police and inform any other staff members of your actions so they can help if required.

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