Who is vulnerable?
"A vulnerable adult is someone who may be at risk because of mental, physical or learning disability, age or illness. Someone who cannot always take care of him or her self, or protect him or her self against harm or exploitation." (Safeguarding Adults - Multi Agency Procedures 2008 Section 1.1 Vulnerable adult definition)
“Someone of 16 years or over who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or maybe unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation." (Making Decisions” 1997 Lord Chancellor's Department and 'No Secrets' 2000)
Whether or not a person is vulnerable in these cases will depend upon surrounding circumstances, environment and each case must be judged on its own merits.
Although the above definition refers to those aged over 16 years, allegations of abuse of 16 and 17 year olds would be dealt with under locally agreed Child Protection procedures and existing Child Care legislation.
For more information about procedures to safeguard vulnerable adults in Hampshire, please see Adult Services Procedure 28/10 Safeguarding Adults Policy 2010
What is abuse?
Abuse is something that is done to another person, without their full understanding or consent, that harms them in some way. It may consist of a single act or repeated acts.
Abuse can include one or more of the following:
Physical abuse includes hitting, pinching, deliberately giving too much medication or physically restraining someone in an inappropriate way. For example, being locked in or force-fed.
Financial abuse includes taking another person's money or possessions. For example, having money or property stolen, being pressured into giving people money or changing a will, misuse of benefits, not being allowed access to money.
Sexual abuse includes any sexual act to which the vulnerable adult has not consented and may not understand. For example, being touched or kissed when it is not wanted, being made to touch or kiss someone else, being raped, being made to listen to sexual comments or forced to look at sexual acts or materials.
Psychological abuse can happen where someone is isolated, verbally abused or threatened.
Discriminating abuse includes any type of abuse aimed at a vulnerable adult because of their colour, religion, appearance or sexuality. For example, ignoring spiritual or religious beliefs, comments or jokes about a person's disability, age, race, sexual orientation, or gender / gender identity, ignoring cultural needs, for example diet or clothing.
This is abuse occurring in a social or health care establishment that may range from poor practice to ill treatment and gross misconduct. For example, lack of individual care, no flexibility of bedtimes or waking, deprived environment and lack of stimulation.
Disability hate crime
Disability hate crime is when someone is being abused or harassed because they are disabled.
Hate crime is harassing, victimising, intimidating, bullying or abusing someone because of their race, faith, religion, disability or because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered. A hate crime can include physical attacks, harassment, threats, disputes with neighbours, people swearing at you or making abusive remarks, people doing things that frighten, intimidate or distress you.