Adults at Risk Protection Policy and Procedures

Author information

Produced by: Head of Safeguarding

Date created: November 2019

Approval by: Board of Trustees

Last updated: December 2020

Updated by: Head of Safeguarding

Audit date: October 2020

Version history

December 2020 Update

Rowan White joins the Safeguarding Team (replacing Sue Stagg)

September 2020 Updates

Document converted to new format

Key Information

If you see, suspect or discover something that concerns you then you should:


Recognise the concern and make a note of what you have seen or heard.


Report all concerns to a member of the safeguarding team immediately by either directly speaking to a member of the safeguarding team or calling the safeguarding team Ext 7000 or 07980 735731 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week!). Do not delay!


After contacting a member of the safeguarding team record your concern as a Safeguarding log.

Key contacts

WESC Safeguarding Mobile Number Tel: 07980 735731 (7000 from a WESC internal phone)

Chair of Trustees = Chris Knee Ext 201

Care Direct (Adult Safeguarding Concerns) Tel: 01392 381 206 (Opt 5)

MASH (Child Safeguarding Concerns Tel: 0345 155 1071

LADO (Staff Practice Concerns) Tel: 01392 384964

Safeguarding Team

Mark Hutchinson is the Head of Safeguarding and Designated Safeguarding Lead.

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads

Marc Phillips
Matt Smith
Emma Lyall
Catherine Scott Baker
Helen Jenkins

Designated Safeguarding Persons

Jane Beveridge
Hazel Browning
Richard Ellis
Niki Tansley
Rowan White
Ruth Owens


Here at the WESC Foundation our first duty is to keep our children and young people safe.  We are committed to safeguarding and promoting their welfare and aim to create a culture of vigilance.

To do this we have put in place lots of ways to make it easy for children, parents, staff and visitors to talk to us about any concerns they have.  This policy sets out how we approach our safeguarding responsibilities and what to do if you are worried about a young person at WESC Foundation.

Young people with visual impairment often find it difficult to make friends easily with their peers as they do not see well enough to interpret complex social cues and body language.   They can misunderstand social settings and need to develop a secure grasp of social conventions and norms.  People around them recognise their vulnerability and can respond in a protective manner, so that to facilitate independence we must strongly encourage the young person to challenge others’ views, actions and motivations.  Learning difficulties can increase vulnerability with young people working hard to fit in, being manipulated, or finding it difficult to form healthy relationships. Away from home young people meet a lot more adults, so we need to make extra efforts to keep them safe.

To respond to these challenges we work to make our site safe, carefully select our staff and build a culture where it is right to talk about your worries and concerns. No single person, particularly when children have complex needs, can have a full picture of a young person’s needs or circumstances and if children and their families are to receive the right help at the right time, everyone who comes into contact with them has a role to play in identifying concerns, sharing information and taking prompt action.

Due to their day-to-day contact with young people, WESC staff are uniquely placed to observe changes in young people’s behaviour and the outward signs of abuse.  Young people may also turn to a trusted adult at WESC when they are in distress or at risk.  It is vital that WESC staff are alert to the signs of abuse and understand the procedures for reporting their concerns.  The school will act on identified concerns and provide early help to prevent concerns from escalating.

Our safeguarding team is led by the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mark Hutchinson. He has worked in both adults’ and children’s settings so has a good understanding of what our young people need. You can speak to Mark or any of the members of the Safeguarding Team using the details on the back page of this document.

The key message in this document is to share your worries or concerns, and for us to work together to think through what needs to happen with the support of other agencies in Devon.

Being open and honest is the right thing to do, and while this is scary at times our firm commitment is to support anyone who raises a concern and ensure you are not left to worry alone.

If you have any comments about this document, or you want to talk to me in confidence about a concern, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Jane Bell, CEO


WESC Foundation is committed to the protection and safeguarding of all adults at risk in its care.  The welfare of our adult service users will always be our first priority

The Trustees’ take seriously their responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of adults at risk; and to work together with other agencies to ensure that adequate arrangements within WESC are in place to identify, assess, and support those adults who are suffering or may suffer harm.

This Policy has been established in accordance with the Care Act 2014 including the six key principles that underpin adult safeguarding.

Empowerment – People being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and informed consent.

Prevention -It is better to take action before harm occurs.

Proportionality – Proportionate and least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented.

Protection -Support and representation for those in greatest need.

Partnership -Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse.

Accountability -Accountability and transparency in delivering safeguarding.

WESC recognise that all staff, Trustees, parents/carers, visitors and volunteers have a full and active part to play in protecting adults at risk from harm, and the adult’s welfare is of paramount concern.



Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances.

Adult at risk

An adult (someone over the age of 18) who needs community care services because of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is, or may be, unable to take care of themselves against significant harm or exploitation. The term replaces ‘vulnerable adult’.


Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil right by any other person or persons.  Whatever the violation and whatever the reason, abuse cannot be condoned.  Whilst there is no standard legal definition of adult abuse, local multi-agency partnerships usually have agreed definitions and common language


The person who raises a concern that an adult is being, has been, or is at risk of being abused or neglected. This could be the person themselves, a member of their family, a carer, a friend / neighbour or a member of staff / volunteer.

Alerting manager

The person within an organisation to whom the alerter is expected to report their concerns. They may also be the designated safeguarding adults lead within an organisation. It is the alerting manager who will in most cases make the referral and take part in the safeguarding adults process. At WESC, all members of the safeguarding team may be alerting managers

Designated safeguarding adults lead

The member of staff in an organisation who is given the lead for safeguarding adults. The role may be combined with that of the alerting manager, depending on the size of the organisation.

DoLS (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards)

Measures to protect people who lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves. They came into effect in April 2009 as part of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and apply to people in care homes or hospitals where they may be deprived of their liberty. DoLS will be replaced by the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) in 2020.

WESC Foundation Safeguarding Aims

WESC Foundation will endeavour at all times to provide a caring, positive, safe and stimulating environment that promotes the social, physical and moral development of the individual vulnerable adult.

We recognise that for vulnerable adults attending any WESC provision, high self-esteem, confidence, supportive friends and clear lines of communication with a trusted adult helps to prevent abuse.

WESC Foundation will therefore:

  • Support the vulnerable adults’ development in ways that will foster security, confidence and independence.
  • Provide an environment in which vulnerable people feel safe, secure, valued and respected, feel confident and know how to approach staff if they are in difficulties, believing they will be effectively listened to.
  • Raise the awareness of all staff/volunteers of the need to safeguard vulnerable adults and of their responsibilities in identifying and reporting possible cases of abuse, both on and off the campus.
  • Provide a systematic means of monitoring vulnerable adults known or thought to be at risk of harm, and ensuring that WESC contribute to assessments of need and support packages for them.
  • Emphasise the need for effective and appropriate communication between all members of staff/volunteers, parents/carers and external agencies in relation to safeguarding vulnerable adults.
  • Ensure that vulnerable adults know that there are adults within WESC Foundation who they can approach if they are worried or are in difficulty.
  • Develop a structured procedure within WESC Foundation, this will be followed by all members of WESC in cases of suspected abuse, including incidents that have happened in the wider community.
  • Develop and promote effective working relationships with all other agencies involved in safeguarding vulnerable adults, especially the Police and Social Care.
  • Ensure that all adults within WESC Foundation who have access to vulnerable adults have been checked as to their suitability, including verification of their identity, qualifications and a satisfactory DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. A single central record of staff suitability checks is kept for audit.
  • Notify Care Direct as soon as there is a significant concern.
  • Provide continuing support to an adult at risk (about whom there have been concerns) who leaves WESC Foundation by ensuring that such concerns are discussed with the allocated social worker and / or a court appointed advocate (where lack of capacity is an issue) as soon as possible.


All adults working with or on behalf of vulnerable adults have a responsibility to protect them.  There are, however, key people within WESC Foundation who have specific responsibilities under this policy.  The names of those carrying out these responsibilities for the current year are listed at the end of this document.

Responsibilities of the Trustees

The Trustees have strategic responsibility for safeguarding arrangements at WESC Foundation and will appoint a named Trustee with responsibility for working with the DSL on reviewing and monitoring safeguarding and vulnerable adult protection issues.

The role of the designated Safeguarding Trustee is to ensure that WESC Foundation has an effective policy, that the procedures are complied with and to support WESC Foundation in this aspect.

Responsibilities of the Designated Safeguarding Adults Lead:

WESC Foundation has a responsibility to safeguard vulnerable adults by appropriately sharing any concerns with the appropriate bodies.  It is the responsibility of the DSL to ensure this happens.

The DSL is responsible for heading up the Safeguarding Team who will:

  • Follow the Devon Vulnerable Adult Protection procedure.
  • Seek advice from the Care Direct Team.
  • Report termly to the Trustees.

The DSL will provide a termly report for the Trustees detailing any changes to the policy and procedures; training undertaken by all staff and Trustees and other relevant issues. Trustees will not be given details relating to individual protection cases or situations to ensure confidentiality is not breached

It is the role of the DSL to ensure that all of the vulnerable adult procedures are followed within WESC Foundation, and to make appropriate, timely referrals to appropriate Social Care Services.  If for any reason the DSL is unavailable, the Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads (DDSL) or a member of the safeguarding team will act as alerting managers in their absence.  Additionally, it is the role of the DSL to ensure all staff employed, including temporary staff and volunteers, within the organisation are aware of WESC’s internal procedures, to advise staff and offer support to those requiring this.

Responsibilities of the members of the Safeguarding Team

All members of the Safeguarding team will undertake Multi-Agency training delivered through the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board, at Level 3, Protection of Vulnerable Adults, MCA and Dols and update this training as recommended every two years.

The name and contact details of the DSL and Safeguarding team will be clearly shown within WESC Foundation and can be found at the end of this policy.

The DSL and Safeguarding Team (the alerting managers) can seek advice from Care Direct referral team as appropriate and attend forums, updates and training from external safeguarding providers to ensure the organisation remains up to date with current practice.

The Adult at Risk Protection Policy will be audited annually to ensure guidance is current.

Staff are kept informed about vulnerable adult protection responsibilities and procedures through induction, briefings and awareness training.  There may be other adults at WESC who rarely work unsupervised, more usually working alongside members of WESC staff.  However, WESC will ensure they are aware of this policy and the identity of the DSL and how to contact members of the safeguarding team.

All adults new to the establishment will be informed of how to access this policy, be given the name and contact details of the members of the Safeguarding team, and have these explained as part of their induction.

All visitors to WESC Foundation will be given details of how to contact the Safeguarding team at the point of registration.

Attendance at Adult Protection Conferences

It is the responsibility of the DSL to ensure that WESC Foundation is represented or a report is submitted to any protection conference called for an adult at risk at WESC Foundation.  Whoever attends should be fully briefed on any issues or concerns WESC Foundation has and be prepared to make a decision on WESC Foundation’s ability to protect the adult at risk at the end of the conference.

If WESC Foundation is part of a safety planning group then the DSL should ensure that WESC Foundation is represented at these meetings; that there is a record of attendance and issues discussed.  All concerns about the adult at risk’s welfare should be discussed and recorded at the meeting unless the adult at risk becomes at further risk of significant harm.  In this case the DSL must inform the relevant social care key worker immediately and then record that they have done so and the actions agreed.

Responsibilities of all employees, volunteers and trustees:

  • To attend the appropriate training in the protection of Adults at Risk organised by the DSL (Induction and mandatory updates).
  • To have access to the policy and procedure via the intranet and website and the opportunity to discuss their content with their line manager.
  • To comply with this policy and follow the guidelines in the procedure.
  • To be aware of the current literature relating to Adults at Risk and ensure they understand its content.
  • To listen to adults’ concerns and respond in an appropriate way.
  • To report any concerns about domestic abuse to the DSL who will liaise with Care Direct/ Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) / Police as necessary.
  • To produce a written and signed report of any concerns, allegations and suspicions/disclosures of abuse and pass it immediately to a member of the safeguarding team, with a copy retained for safety, including any concerns about the vulnerable adult’s life away from WESC.
  • Not to conduct an investigation of their suspicions or allegations as this could compromise future proceedings.
  • To only discuss the disclosure with a member of the Safeguarding team or statutory agencies, unless directed otherwise.
  • To refer direct to either the Police or Care Direct on 0345 155 1007, Ofsted or CQC if the member of staff has a concern about the way the disclosure is being handled.

Any member of staff who fails to report concerns regarding adults at risk immediately puts themselves at risk of disciplinary action.


This policy is considered mandatory reading for all staff. Training and assessment is conducted on a regular basis (including in regular supervisions) to ensure that all members of staff are aware of the policy and its contents.

Policy Text


It is the responsibility of all adults to act to prevent or stop abuse to children and adults at risk.   Staff must respond to concerns raised by or about a child or adult at risk whether the concern is related to the time the young person spends at home, in the community or at WESC Foundation. Staff also have a duty to report any concerns shared by the young person about their siblings or other members of their family.

Anyone can discuss a concern or report a disclosure by phoning the safeguarding phone 07980 735731 (or Ext 7000).  This is a dedicated phone for safeguarding and is manned 24/7.

You can phone or go and see any of the safeguarding team (named at the end of the policy and procedure) or contact them through the internal phone system.  You can also refer direct to Adult Social Care on 08451 551007.  You can also make a referral to Ofsted, CQC or the Police.

Parents and visitors are invited to contact the WESC Foundation safeguarding team with any concerns or to report to the external agencies identified in the policy.

Whilst we work to keep all adult service users within WESC Foundation safe, there are times when we have to take specific action to protect a specific individual or group of adults from significant harm. This is known as adult protection.

When should you contact the safeguarding team?

Staff must contact the Safeguarding team immediately when:

  • An adult at risk tells of something that has upset or harmed them.
  • Someone else reports what an adult at risk has told them, or that they believe that an adult at risk has been or is being harmed either in the care of WESC Foundation or elsewhere.
  • An adult at risk shows signs of physical injury for which there appears to be no explanation.
  • An adult at risk’s behaviour suggests he or she is being abused or their behaviour changes suddenly without any known cause.
  • The behaviour of one of the workers towards an adult or adults at risk is worrying to someone else.
  • The behaviour of another adult or sibling towards an adult at risk causes you concern.
  • You witness worrying behaviour from an adult at risk to another child or adult at risk.
  • Any other situations which make you feel uncomfortable but you do not have a rational explanation for.

When should you record concerns on Databridge?

Staff must record their concerns on Databridge when:

  • you have spoken to a member of the safeguarding team about an incident, disclosure or concern, and the safeguarding team has asked them to make a record.
  • you have any concern about an adult at risk’s welfare but do not believe the individual is at risk of abuse or neglect.
  • you notice changes in an adult at risk’s behaviour or demeanour that you cannot explain.

Reporting low level safeguarding concerns

If a staff member has a low level concern about an adult at risk and does not believe there is a risk of harm and / or has not received a disclosure, they should:

  • record their concern on Databridge before the end of the day / shift
  • record the signs, indicators or behaviour that raised the concern
  • provide any background information that may give context to the concern

A member of the safeguarding team may contact the staff member for further information.


If you have reported a concern or disclosure and want an update please request one from the member of the Safeguarding Team who is working on the concern.  If you do not think that there is appropriate action being taken staff should escalate their concern to the DSL.  If this remains insufficient the member of staff should escalate to the CEO and / or statutory authorities.

Ten key points for staff to follow if you suspect, or are told, of abuse

Adults working with children and vulnerable people should be aware of the risks of abuse and take steps to reduce those risks.

  1. Staff in charge of adults at risk must know what to do if they suspect that someone is being abused or if they are told by a third party that this is happening either during the school day, in the residences or at any other time in the young person’s life.
  2. Always stop and listen to someone who wants to tell you about incidents or suspicions of abuse. Allow the adult at risk to set the pace of the conversation.
  3. If you can and if it does not stop the flow of what you are being told, write brief notes while they are telling you (these may help later if you have to remember exactly what was said) – keep your original notes to give to the DSL, however rough, even if you have written on the back of something else (it is what you have written at the time and it may be important later – not a tidier and improved version written up later). The DSL will also ask you to make a record on Databridge. If you are not able to write notes at the time, make a record on Databridge of what was said and what you observed as soon as possible afterwards.
  4. Never make a promise about keeping what is said confidential or about keeping a secret – if you are told about abuse or a suspicion of abuse you have a statutory duty to report it. If asked you can explain that you need to pass this information on to a named person as it is very important that something is done to make sure that everyone is safe.  You can explain that you will only be telling people who need to know.
  5. Do not ask leading questions as this may put your ideas of what has happened into words. Just ask “what do you want to tell me,” “tell me more about that,” or “is there anything else that you want to say”.  Do not correct the words they have used but ask for clarification of what they mean, if you are not clear.
  6. Inform the group leader/teacher/Line Manager that you have had a disclosure and that you need to pass on information to a member of the Safeguarding Team. If the disclosure is about the group leader / teacher / line manager you will need to ensure that the young person is kept safe and raise the alarm as soon as possible. You may need to stay with the adult at risk until you can get assistance.
  7. Never attempt to carry out an investigation of suspected or alleged abuse. Social Care Teams and Police have staff who are trained to do this.  You could contaminate the evidence and spoil the chance of any criminal proceedings.  It is your responsibility to refer concerns on and not investigate them.  Do not tidy up any area connected to the alleged abuse or clean up the adult at risk.
  8. Within 24 hours of a disclosure the member of the Safeguarding Team will refer the matter to the relevant social services teams, taking into account the local criteria for action.
  9. Never think that abuse is impossible in the organisation or in the adult’s home or community or that an accusation against someone you know well and trust is bound to be wrong.
  10. An adult at risk may tell a peer or peers, rather than staff or other adults, about abuse. The above points should be discussed with service users regularly so that they are aware of how to manage any shared concerns and the importance of telling a responsible adult.

All staff have a responsibility to report concerns to any statutory agency (Care Direct, Police, CQC), if they believe that the Safeguarding Team or the Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) has not reacted appropriately to the concern or allegation or if there is a level of institutional abuse which is not being identified or corrected.

Preserving Evidence

The first responsibility is to the safety and welfare of the abused person.  However, immediate action may be necessary to preserve and protect evidence.  Staff action may be vital in any future proceedings and the success (or failure) of any investigation.  The following is advice for preserving evidence after a report of a criminal offence:

  • Don’t disturb the person.
  • Keep them calm and quiet until the police arrive.
  • Don’t change their clothes, bath them or give them a drink.
  • Don’t disturb the room.
  • Keep bedding, clothing and so on.
  • Put any tissues, condoms, or bloody items in a clean envelope or glass.
  • Don’t let other people go into the room until the police arrive.
  • Do keep the ‘victim’ and the perpetrator apart.

Categories of abuse

(See SCIE website for more information)

Neglect and acts of omission

  • Failure to provide or allow access to food, shelter, clothing, heating, stimulation and activity, personal or medical care
  • Providing care in a way that the person dislikes
  • Failure to administer medication as prescribed
  • Refusal of access to visitors
  • Not taking account of individuals’ cultural, religious or ethnic needs
  • Not taking account of educational, social and recreational needs
  • Ignoring or isolating the person
  • Preventing the person from making their own decisions
  • Preventing access to glasses, hearing aids, dentures, etc.
  • Failure to ensure privacy and dignity

 Physical abuse

This concerns the actual or likely physical injury to a person, for example:

  • Assault, hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, hair-pulling, biting, pushing
  • Rough handling
  • Scalding and burning
  • Physical punishments
  • Inappropriate or unlawful use of restraint
  • Making someone purposefully uncomfortable (e.g. opening a window and removing blankets)
  • Involuntary isolation or confinement
  • Misuse of medication (e.g. over-sedation)
  • Forcible feeding or withholding food
  • Unauthorised restraint, restricting movement (e.g. tying someone to a chair)

Psychological or emotional abuse

  • Enforced social isolation – preventing someone accessing services, educational and social opportunities and seeing friends
  • Removing mobility or communication aids or intentionally leaving someone unattended when they need assistance
  • Preventing someone from meeting their religious and cultural needs
  • Preventing the expression of choice and opinion
  • Failure to respect privacy
  • Preventing stimulation, meaningful occupation or activities
  • Intimidation, coercion, harassment, use of threats, humiliation, bullying, swearing or verbal abuse
  • Addressing a person in a patronising or infantilising way
  • Threats of harm or abandonment
  • Cyber bullying

Sexual abuse

  • Rape, attempted rape or sexual assault
  • Inappropriate touch anywhere
  • Non-consensual masturbation of either or both persons
  • Non-consensual sexual penetration or attempted penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth
  • Any sexual activity that the person lacks the capacity to consent to
  • Inappropriate looking, sexual teasing or innuendo or sexual harassment
  • Sexual photography or forced use of pornography or witnessing of sexual acts
  • Indecent exposure

Sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse which is often misunderstood by victims and outsiders as consensual.  Although it is true that the victim can be tricked into believing they are in a loving relationship, no vulnerable adult can ever consent to being abused or exploited.

Organisational / institutional abuse

  • Discouraging visits or the involvement of relatives or friends
  • Run-down or overcrowded establishment
  • Authoritarian management or rigid regimes
  • Lack of leadership and supervision
  • Insufficient staff or high turnover resulting in poor quality care
  • Abusive and disrespectful attitudes towards people using the service
  • Inappropriate use of restraints
  • Lack of respect for dignity and privacy
  • Failure to manage residents with abusive behaviour
  • Not providing adequate food and drink, or assistance with eating
  • Not offering choice or promoting independence
  • Misuse of medication
  • Failure to provide care with dentures, spectacles or hearing aids
  • Not taking account of individuals’ cultural, religious or ethnic needs
  • Failure to respond to abuse appropriately
  • Interference with personal correspondence or communication
  • Failure to respond to complaints

Discriminatory abuse

  • Unequal treatment based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation (known as ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act 2010)
  • Verbal abuse, derogatory remarks or inappropriate use of language related to a protected characteristic
  • Denying access to communication aids, not allowing access to an interpreter, signer or lip-reader
  • Harassment or deliberate exclusion on the grounds of a protected characteristic
  • Denying basic rights to healthcare, education, employment and criminal justice relating to a protected characteristic
  • Substandard service provision relating to a protected characteristic

Financial or material abuse

  • Theft of money or possessions
  • Fraud, scamming
  • Preventing a person from accessing their own money, benefits or assets
  • Employees taking a loan from a person using the service
  • Undue pressure, duress, threat or undue influence put on the person in connection with loans, wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions
  • Arranging less care than is needed to save money to maximise inheritance
  • Denying assistance to manage/monitor financial affairs
  • Denying assistance to access benefits
  • Misuse of personal allowance in a care home
  • Misuse of benefits or direct payments in a family home
  • Someone moving into a person’s home and living rent free without agreement or under duress
  • False representation, using another person’s bank account, cards or documents
  • Exploitation of a person’s money or assets, e.g. unauthorised use of a car
  • Misuse of a power of attorney, deputy, appointee-ship or other legal authority
  • Rogue trading – e.g. unnecessary or overpriced property repairs and failure to carry out agreed repairs or poor workmanship

Modern slavery

  • Human trafficking
  • Forced labour
  • Domestic servitude
  • Sexual exploitation, such as escort work, prostitution and pornography
  • Debt bondage – being forced to work to pay off debts that realistically they never will be able to

Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic violence or abuse can be:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial

Domestic violence and abuse includes any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. It also includes so called ‘honour’ -based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage.

Coercive or controlling behaviour is a core part of domestic violence. Coercive behaviour can include:

  • acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation
  • harming, punishing, or frightening the person
  • isolating the person from sources of support
  • exploitation of resources or money
  • preventing the person from escaping abuse
  • regulating everyday behaviour.


  • Lack of self-care to an extent that it threatens personal health and safety
  • Neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings
  • Inability to avoid self-harm
  • Failure to seek help or access services to meet health and social care needs
  • Inability or unwillingness to manage one’s personal affairs

Indicators of abuse

Physical signs define some type of abuse, for example, bruising, bleeding or broken bones resulting from physical or sexual abuse, or injuries sustained while a child has been inadequately supervised.  The definition of physical signs is complicated, as adults at risk may go to great lengths to hide injuries, often because they are ashamed or embarrassed, or their abuser has threatened further violence or trauma if they ‘tell’.  It is also quite difficult for anyone to categorise injuries into accidental or deliberate with any degree of certainty.  For these reasons, it is vital that staff are also aware of the behavioural indicators of abuse and report any concerns to the Safeguarding Team.

For detailed lists of indicators of the different types of adult abuse, see the SCIE website.

Other specific issues

Physical Intervention

The WESC Foundation procedure on physical intervention with young people over the age of 18 is set out separately, and acknowledges that staff must only ever use physical restraint as a last resort, when an adult at risk is endangering themselves or others, carrying out a criminal act or causing significant damage to property.  At all times it must be the minimal force necessary and applied for the shortest possible time.

All staff are reminded that physical intervention of a nature which causes injury, humiliation or distress to an adult at risk may be considered under criminal procedures (assault) and / or safeguarding or disciplinary procedures.


The WESC Foundation procedure on bullying is set out in a separate document and acknowledges that to allow or condone bullying may lead to consideration under these adult protection procedures. Bullying includes cyber, racist, homo- or trans-phobic and gender related bullying.

Forced marriage and honour based abuse

Forced marriage is when a person faces physical pressure to marry (e.g. threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (e.g. if you’re made to feel like you’re bringing shame on your family).

So-called honour based crime is intended to protect ‘family honour’ through violence, threats, insults or other acts around forced marriage, where a cross-cultural relationship is suspected, or where other ‘taboos’ are broken such as wearing of non-traditional clothes or attending events that violate a family or cultural ‘norms’.

If staff become aware of either possibility it must be reported immediately to the Safeguarding Team or the Police.

Female Genital Mutilation

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a form of violence against women and young girls and is a criminal offence in the UK.  It is a grave violation of the human rights of girls and women to life and is illegal in almost every country in the world.  The UK Government has signed a number of international human rights laws against FGM.


WESC recognises that the commitment of the establishment and the staff play a significant part in the prevention of harm to vulnerable adults by ensuring effective lines of communication with trusted adults, supportive friends and an ethos of protection.

We will:

  • Provide opportunities which equip adults at risk with the skills they need to stay safe from harm and to know whom they should turn to for help.
  • Inform staff that it is not acceptable to use personal mobile phones and emails to communicate with adults at risk and/or their families.
  • Inform staff that it is not acceptable to communicate with adults at risk using social networking sites.
  • Inform staff that it is not acceptable to take or store photographs of adults at risk on personal mobile phones, cameras or other photographic equipment, personal email/computers and social networking sites.
  • Ensure that all WESC Foundation recruitment documentation state its commitment to safeguarding vulnerable groups.
  • Ensure that each interview panel contains a member of staff who has completed the Safer Recruitment training.
  • Ensure appropriate notifications are made to the DBS should a safeguarding allegation result in WESC Foundation removing a person from regulated activity.

Safer recruitment

WESC Foundation endeavours to ensure that it employs ‘safe staff’ by complying with the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

Safer recruitment means that all applicants will:

  • understand their duties to safeguard adults at risk from the outset through the advertisement and in their job description
  • complete and sign a WESC Foundation application form which includes a full education and employment history (with explanations for any gaps)
  • provide business contact details for two verified, formal referee statements following a WESC Foundation format, including their current or most recent employer and at least one who can comment on the applicant’s suitability to work with young people (the last child care employer if they have one).One reference must be from someone who has known the candidate for at least 5 years
  • provide evidence of identity and qualification
  • be checked in accordance with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) code of conduct as appropriate to their role, including a check of the relevant barred list(s) if the individual will be in regulated activity with adults and / or children
  • provide evidence of their right to work in the UK
  • be interviewed by a panel of two testing skills and abilities with Value Based questions against the job description including at least one person with safer recruitment training.

WESC Foundation will also verify the candidate’s mental and physical fitness to carry out their work responsibilities. All new members of staff will undergo face to face induction training which includes familiarisation with the safeguarding policies and procedures and support to identify their Adult Protection training needs. All staff will sign to confirm that they have read and understood the safeguarding policies and procedures including ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2019’. WESC Foundation obtains written confirmation from supply agencies that agency staff have been appropriately checked, and their suitability to work with adults at risk at WESC Foundation will be assessed. WESC Foundation maintains a single Central Register of recruitment checks undertaken.


All staff who work adults at risk will undertake appropriate safeguarding awareness training to equip them to carry out their responsibilities effectively; this will start at induction and will be kept up to date by formal refresher training at no more than three yearly intervals.  In addition, regular briefing sessions to all staff at least annually will be used to increase knowledge and skills, highlight changes in legislation and needs of the vulnerable groups that use our services.

Temporary staff and volunteers who work with adults at risk at WESC will be made aware of WESC’s arrangements for adult protection and their responsibilities.  They will be given information at reception which informs them of the contact details of the safeguarding team.

Safe setting, safe staff

Supporting Staff

WESC Foundation recognises that staff working here who have become involved with an adult at risk who has suffered harm, or appears to be likely to suffer harm may find the situation stressful and upsetting.

WESC Foundation will support such staff through a variety of means including providing an opportunity to talk through their anxieties with the DSL.  A confidential telephone counselling service and additional resources will be sought if required.

WESC Foundation understand that staff should have access to advice on the boundaries of appropriate behaviour.  The WESC Foundation Code of Practice and Code of Conduct must be adhered to by staff.

WESC Foundation recognise that designated staff should have access to support through supervision and appropriate workshops, courses or meetings.

Allegations against staff

All WESC Foundation staff should take care not to place themselves in a vulnerable position with an adult at risk.  Staff must adhere to the ‘Working Alone with Vulnerable adults’ and ‘Intimate Care’ procedures.

WESC Foundation understands that an adult at risk may make an allegation against a member of staff.

The DSL or CEO on all such occasions will discuss the content of the allegation with the adult safeguarding coordinator at Devon Safeguarding Adults Partnership and / or Care Direct.

If the allegation concerns the CEO, the DSL will immediately inform the Chair of Trustees without notifying the CEO first.


The staff at WESC Foundation occupy a vital position in promoting good practice and professional conduct throughout the organisation.  We recognise that staff are committed to providing a high standard of service.

WESC Foundation recognises that the vulnerable adults cannot be expected to raise concerns in an environment where staff fail to do so.

All staff should be aware of their duty to raise concerns, where they exist, about the management of vulnerable adult protection, which may include the attitude or actions of colleagues.  If necessary, they should speak to the DSL or Care Direct, Police, CQC or Ofsted.

If a member of staff notices anything that gives them cause for concern it is vital that this is raised.

Acting upon staff concerns is fundamental in order to ensure good practice and support for staff.

Resolving issues must be viewed by all staff as a positive action and not a breach of trust between colleagues or an attack on the organisation.

WESC Foundation values an atmosphere of candour, openness and honesty and welcomes suggestions, complaints and criticisms.

Whistleblowing includes raising and passing on concerns about any of the following:

  • Poor standards of service
  • Issues of bad practice
  • The conduct of colleagues or managers
  • Anything which is not in the best interest of the vulnerable adult or the organisation
  • Any instance which contravenes the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) code of practice or the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS) when they come into effect in 2020
  • Any instance which contravenes the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) code of practice.
  • Anything which is illegal or unacceptable behaviour.

WESC Foundation has a detailed Whistle Blowing procedure in place which is available through the staff intranet and from the DSL on request.

Who do I need to speak to?

You can contact a Designated Person (member of the Safeguarding Team) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 07980 735731 or Ext 7000 (from a WESC Foundation landline).

WESC Foundation personnel responsible for carrying out safeguarding procedures are:

  • Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL; Training: Level 3 Child Protection Training with evidence of CPD annually)
  • Head of Safeguarding
  • Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads (DDSLs)
  • CEO
  • Director of Care and Support Services
  • Director of Education
  • Safeguarding Team (Designated Safeguarding Persons or DSPs; Training: Level 3 Child Protection Training renewed at least every 2 years with annual updates)
  • Head of Learning
  • Residential Support Manager
  • Team Leam for Therapy and Mobility
  • Head of VI Specialist Services
  • Pastoral Lead
  • St David’s House Manager
  • Nurse Manager
  • Designated Trustee (contact via the CEO’s PA EXT 201)

Ofsted can be contacted on  or 0300 1234 666

Care Quality Commission (CQC) can be contacted on or 03000 616161

Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub can be contacted on 0345 155 1071

LADO can be contacted on 01392 384964

Care Direct can be contacted on 0845 155 1007

Annex 1: Safeguarding Concern Pathway

  1. Safeguarding Concern raised about a child/adult/Staff Member (RECOGNISE).
  2. Speak to member of the Safeguarding Team (REPORT)
  3. Safeguarding team member will decide who should complete a Databridge log (RECORD)
  4. Case is screened to decide if it is a Safeguarding Case.
  5. If no then manage via operational and/or close. Move to step 8.
  6. If yes then there will be further assessment by the safeguarding team resulting in:
    • Refer to MASH or LADO, or internal only (children)
    • Refer to Care Direct, or internal only (adult).
  7. Outcomes are then are then shared more widely.
  8. If dissatisfied with Organisational response Escalate to: Police, Care Direct, MASH, LADO, Ofsted (Child), CQC (Adult), Chair of Trustees as appropriate.

Associated documents

This Policy should be read in conjunction with the following policies and procedures:

Child protection and safeguarding policy

  • Positive Behavioural Support
  • Physical Intervention
  • Anti-bullying
  • Whistle Blowing
  • Complaints
  • Confidentiality
  • Working alone with Vulnerable adults
  • Intimate Care
  • Support and Supervision of staff
  • Staff selection and recruitment procedures
  • Online safety Policy
  • Safe Recruitment
  • Risk Assessment Guidelines
  • Sex and Relationship Education Procedure (SRE)

Access to this document

This document is stored on the WESC Foundation Intranet.

Please contact the MIS office if you would like a copy of this document in an alternative format such as Braille or large print.