2.3 Explain actions to take if an individual alleges that they are 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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2.3 Explain actions to take if an individual alleges that they are being abused

It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of abuse, but it is also crucial that as a care worker, you take action if an individual says they are being abused.


If an individual may be subject to abuse, you must respond if they say they are. It is important that the individual feels safe and does not feel under pressure to say anything. If there has been or appears to have been abuse, it is crucial that it is reported immediately, as ignoring the signs could lead to further distress for the individual.

Specify this as a safeguarding concern if you believe it is – even if an individual says they are fine! Report the incident to your manager and someone from social services, such as a social worker or a specialist practitioner. If possible, find out who else has been involved in the case and talk to them about what has happened.


You need to follow whatever actions have been taken by your manager or social services. You may be required to provide information about the individual, their circumstances, and any concerns you have. This could be in written form or verbally. The person investigating will likely speak with you again to discuss how they can best carry out their investigation. They will also take steps to ensure the safety of the individual, which may involve you and/or them speaking directly with them (depending on the situation).

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You must not take action yourself. If you believe somebody is being abused or has been abused, it’s important that your first port of call is always social services. They will investigate whatever concerns you have and act accordingly based on what they find.

If you’ve reported suspicious activity but nothing has happened, then continue to check in with the person you’re looking after to make sure they are okay. You can report this back to your manager too.


There are many things that could stand in the way of tackling abuse; for example misplaced loyalty; fear of disbelief from managers or police; fear of repercussions from the abuser or others; lack of knowledge of who to tell and what to say. A manager has a duty to provide an environment where people feel comfortable speaking up about issues such as this, so if you have concerns that you can’t speak to someone directly then report it through another channel.

If abuse is taking place, reporting it could be seen as putting yourself at risk. But reporting suspicions could help save someone from further harm and prevent future victims from being targeted by the same person.

Once again, do not take action yourself – leave this to those who are experienced in these situations. If you have been involved with reporting concerns on multiple occasions, your manager may want to discuss other ways for supporting you during the investigation.

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