The Recruitment Junction works with adult male and female ex-offenders in the community with the aim of moving them into paid employment. It also engages in supporting the wider family and friends of prisoners and ex-offenders. In undertaking this work, it routinely encounters safeguarding issues in relation to vulnerable adults. Although it does not work directly with children, through its work with vulnerable adults it may sometimes receive information in relation to the welfare of a child that gives cause for concern.
At all times The Recruitment Junction’s employees and volunteers consider the welfare of children and vulnerable adults to be of paramount importance. It is committed to achieving this by:
- Actively striving to promote the empowerment and wellbeing of vulnerable adults through respectful and responsive service provision.
- Believing and promoting that all individuals have the right to be able to live their lives free from fear, abuse, harm or degrading treatment. All individuals have the right to protection from any such mistreatment and harm.
- Believing and promoting that all individuals have the right to make choices and that their right to independence be actively encouraged. It acknowledges that such choices may at times involve an element of risk. It is committed to ensuring that any such risks are formally acknowledged and understood by all concerned, taking all reasonable measures to ensure risks be minimised wherever possible.
- Being committed to respecting equal opportunities, anti-discriminatory practice and diversity issues.
- Ensuring that the views of people accessing The Recruitment Junction’s services are actively sought and used to influence the development of practice.
- Publicising complaints procedures which all service users, staff and volunteers are provided with.
Ensuring that the law and statutory requirements which relate to children and vulnerable adults are known and put into practice.
The Recruitment Junction does not directly undertake work with children, so a separate child safeguarding policy has been determined to not be needed. The Recruitment Junction believes that everyone has a responsibility to promote the welfare of all children and young people, to keep them safe and to practise in a way that protects them.
It is also recognised that some children are additionally vulnerable because of the impact of discrimination, previous experiences, their level of dependency, communication needs or other issues, such as being the child of, or a close relation of, an ex-offender.
Vulnerable Adult: The updated Care Act (2014) no longer uses the term ‘vulnerable adult’ but instead defines an individual in need of safeguarding much more broadly. Throughout this document we will use the term vulnerable adult to refer to those who fit within these categories, and understand vulnerable adult to mean: A person aged 18 or over who has an impairment in their ability to protect themselves from harm, either physical or emotional, through any form of assault, abuse, exploitation or neglect. Their vulnerability may be in the form of any of, or a combination of: a learning or physical disability; a physical or mental illness (chronic or otherwise), including an addiction to alcohol or drugs; a reduction in physical or mental capacity; a dependency upon others, or a requirement for assistance in the performance of physical functions; severe impairment in the ability to communicate with others.
Child: Is understood by The Children Act (1989) as being a person under the age of 18.
Abuse: This may be a single or repeated act, or a lack of appropriate care; taking place in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which could result in harm or exploitation of the person subject to it.
Abuser: It is important to recognise that the ‘abuser’ could be anyone, including friends, relatives, family members, other service users, professional paid staff, volunteers and persons unknown to the vulnerable adult.
Significant Harm: This is an important legal term as The Children Act mandates that local authorities must help children deemed at risk of significant harm. However, public sector resources are stretched and local authorities’ children’s social care threshold for intervention has crept higher and higher. It must be clear then that ‘significant harm’ should be taken to include not only ill treatment (including sexual abuse and forms of ill treatment that are not physical); but also the impairment of, or an unavoidable deterioration in physical or mental health, and the impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development. Significance and seriousness will be determined in relation to the individual’s vulnerability; the motive, extent and duration of the abuse; the impact on the adult; who is the abuser; and the likelihood of it reoccurring to the adult or others.
The Recruitment Junction does not wish anyone to suffer ANY harm that could be avoided or prevented. For this reason it will act on its concerns regardless of whether or not the harm is deemed to be ‘significant’. If statutory agencies become involved and then choose not to act, then it will have fulfilled its own duty towards the individual deemed to be at risk.
Categories of abuse: indicators, signs and symptoms
The following categories of abuse are outlined in the Care Act:
1. Physical Abuse:
Physical mistreatment or non-accidental injury, including:
- Misuse of medication
Possible indicators of physical abuse may include, but are not limited to:
- An injury not fitting the explanation given
- Unexplained or unusual fractures
- Bruises or burns in the shape of objects e.g. cigarette burns or belt buckles
- Bruising in well protected areas e.g. behind the ears, on face, inside of the upper arms or thighs, buttocks, breasts, genital or rectal area
Acts of omission or refusal to meet basic needs, including:
- Ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs
- Failure to provide access to appropriate healthcare and support or educational services
- The withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating
3. Organisational abuse
Including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital, school or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one-off incidents to on-going ill treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation. This can include:
- Lack of individual choice/denial of diversified support
- Judgmental attitudes towards children or vulnerable adults including derogatory terms used about the person or their situation
- Failure to ensure appropriate privacy and dignity
- Over-protective practices
4. Psychological abuse
This includes threats of harm, abandonment, isolation or humiliation which may result in the adult feeling in low mood, undervalued and perhaps unnecessarily dependent. Psychological abuse includes:
- Emotional abuse
- Threats of harm or abandonment
- Deprivation of contact
- Verbal abuse
- Cyber bullying
- Unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks
Possible indicators of psychological/emotional abuse may include, but are not limited to:
- Low self esteem
- Aggressive or challenging behaviour
- Attention seeking behaviour
- Self harm
- Unexplained paranoia
- Withdrawal from support networks
5. Sexual abuse
This is the involvement of any individual in any sexual activity to which they either cannot or have not given their consent or they were pressured into consenting. Sexual abuse includes:
- Contact abuse, e.g. rape, inappropriate touching, masturbation, penetration or attempted penetration
- Non-contact abuse, e.g. voyeurism, sexual photography, indecent exposure, sexual teasing/innuendo, being subjected to pornography, witnessing sexual acts and sexual harassment
Possible indicators of sexual abuse may include, but are not limited to:
- Change in usual behaviour
- Overtly sexual behaviour/ language/dress
- Bleeding or pain in the genital/rectal area
- Disturbed sleep pattern
6. Financial or material abuse
Unauthorised use of an individual’s resources, or their resources being withheld or misused by someone else. This includes:
- Internet scamming
- Coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions
- The misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits
Possible indicators of which financial or material abuse may include, but are not limited to:
- Change in living conditions
- Lack of heating, clothing or food
- Inability to pay bills/unexplained shortage of money
- Unexplained withdrawals from an account
- Unexplained loss/misplacement of financial documents
- The recent addition of authorised signatories on a service user’s signature card
- Sudden or unexpected changes in a will or other financial documents
7. Modern slavery
- Human trafficking
- Forced labour and domestic servitude.
- Traffickers and slave masters using whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment
8. Discriminatory abuse
This includes forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment because of:
- Gender and gender identity
- Sexual orientation
9. Domestic Abuse
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. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to:
- So called ‘honour’ based violence
This covers a wide range of behaviours such as neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes hoarding. A decision on whether a response is required under safeguarding will depend on the adult’s ability to protect themselves by controlling their own behaviour. There may come a point when they are no longer able to do this, without external support.
Other areas for concern:
Abuse of Trust
A relationship of trust can be described as one in which one party is in a position of power or influence over the other by virtue of their role, work or the nature of their activity. Abuse of trust is the inappropriate leveraging of this power in order to gain a personal benefit, be it romantic, sexual, financial or otherwise.
Conditioning is something that happens to everyone in everyday life and it is only an area for concern when it progresses to a form of manipulation in order to use a relationship for some sort of gain. Conditioning often happens on a sliding scale, starting with a small request for something seemingly trivial, building to a bigger request. Those aiming to condition another individual can use varying tactics of charm, emotion and aggression in order to convince someone to do something for them. If someone is unsure as to whether they are being conditioned, a good question to ask oneself is: ‘Would I do this for someone else in the community?’ If the answer is no, then this may be an indicator that they have been conditioned by the relationship.
Grooming is linked to conditioning in that it involves an individual taking deliberate actions to form a trusting relationship with another individual, with the intent of later gaining something from the relationship. However, grooming is more serious than conditioning as its end goal most commonly relates to sexual abuse and/or financial abuse. The act of grooming may include activities that are legal in and of themselves, but later lead to forms of abuse. Typically, the initial activities are done to gain a child’s or vulnerable adult’s trust as well as the trust of those responsible for the individual’s wellbeing. Research has shown that crimes are less likely to be reported if it involves someone that the individual knows, trusts, and cares about. Additionally, a trusting relationship with those involved in the individual’s wellbeing can mean that potential accusations are less likely to be believed.
Spiritual abuse is the mistreatment of an individual who is in need of help, support or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining, or decreasing that individual’s spiritual empowerment. Spiritual abuse often looks like a positive practice of faith on the outside, but this is used in order to gain power and control over a group or an individual. Spiritual abuse can also be inflicted by those who are well-meaning and do not intend any harm to individuals, who may be acting on what they believe their faith has compelled them to do or say. This unintentional spiritual abuse is often linked to a lack of empathy with the individual concerned; not having the ability to perceive, to understand, to sense or to feel what the individual is experiencing.
Date of approval: This policy was approved by the Board of Trustees on 10th August 2022.
Date of review: This policy will be reviewed on or before 10th August 2023.