Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility

Published: 22/05/2019

Read the latest issue of Care Matters around safeguarding and protecting people from harm, abuse and neglect.

Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility.

It means protecting people's health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. 

There are many types of abuse such as: physical, sexual, emotional abuse and mate crime, as well as abuse of things that belong to you, neglect, discrimination, or abuse of your financial and mental health.  

Abuse can happen anywhere, any time. It could happen in your or someone else’s home, at work, at your care home or in the street. Care professionals are trained to spot signs and symptoms of abuse but you don’t need special training to raise a concern if you feel something is not right and someone could be at risk. 

Some people are more at risk than others, they need support to raise concern and therefore need an advocate in these situations. 

Just because your feelings and beliefs are not the same as someone else does not mean you are abusing them, but you need to respect their beliefs and not treat them in an unfair manner, that could restrict them making their individual choices. 

The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination. It replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. It lists what is known as the protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.

You may be scared to speak out. The person who is abusing or neglecting may make it hard for you to report it, but if abuse happens to you or someone you know it is important to speak out and tell someone you trust.

Do this as soon as you can.

If you receive care or attend services there will be safeguarding policies and procedures in place, a safeguarding policy is a statement that makes it clear what an organisation or group will do to keep people safe.
Somerset County Council have a local safeguarding board which can provide information and support as can your GP or care company.

Abuse is not your fault, you have a right to have a safe life without being abused or neglected.