Safeguarding Policy

Safeguarding Policy Aims
The Furzedown Project aims to ensure that:
● The Furzedown Project is a safe place for all staff and service users
● The Furzedown Project respects everyone’s right to live free from abuse with dignity, autonomy, privacy, and equity
● Appropriate action is taken in a timely manner to safeguard all service users of the Furzedown Project including vulnerable adults
● Staff and volunteers are properly trained in recognising and reporting safeguarding issues

Roles and responsibilities
Whilst safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, these are the key people to whom all safeguarding concerns should be reported:


The Furzedown Project Director / DSL will be responsible for implementing the seven key stages of the Safeguarding Adults process and lead in Stage One – Raising an alert, and Stage Two – Making a referral. The Furzedown Project Director / DSL will work in partnership with the Safeguarding Adults Manager at each stage thereafter.
The Furzedown Project recognises the role of Wandsworth Council as the agency that is responsible for a coordinating role in developing the inter-agency policy and procedures for safeguarding service users including vulnerable adults. This requires partnership working between relevant agencies to develop a framework with agreed roles and responsibilities of each partner agency. Where there is a possibility of a criminal offence, the police will be notified and act as the lead agency in the investigation and no action will be taken without obtaining their approval.

Equality statement
Some adults have an increased risk of abuse, both online and offline, and additional barriers can exist for some adults with respect to recognising or disclosing it. We are committed to anti-discriminatory practice and recognise the diverse circumstances of our service users.
We ensure that all service users have the same protection, regardless of any barriers they may face. We give special consideration to service users who:
● Have special needs and/or disabilities or health conditions
● May experience discrimination due to their age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identification or sexuality
● Have English as an additional language
The duty to make reasonable adjustments includes the removal, adaptation, or alteration of physical features, if the physical features make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of services. In addition, service providers have an obligation to think ahead and address any barriers that may impede disabled people from accessing a service.

The Furzedown Project will ensure that provision is made where the service user has a need for an interpreter, communication aids or other facilitation.
The Furzedown Project will acknowledge an individual’s right to a life which maintains their independence and involves a degree of risk. Where the individual chooses to accept this risk, their wishes should be respected within the context of their capacity to anticipate and understand risk.
Service users including vulnerable adults have the right to express their wishes and priorities and to be personally involved when plans are made for their care. Every effort should be made to enable service users and vulnerable adults to express their wishes in a way that is appropriate to them.

The Furzedown Project respects the right of a service user who has the mental capacity to make their own decisions regarding their present and future circumstances including remaining in situations perceived by professionals or others to be risky or dangerous. In such cases the Furzedown Project will provide the service user with information about the options available to them that could protect them from abuse.
In circumstances where service users do not have the mental capacity to make an informed choice those conducting the investigation and planning their protection will take any decisions and actions necessary to safeguard them. These actions will be based on a judgement of what is in the best interests of the service user, wherever possible and appropriate, by discussion with relatives and carers. In such cases consideration should be given to commissioning an independent mental capacity advocate.
The Furzedown Project will act as a third party and report potential crimes to the police. This can occur, for example, in cases where victims fear retribution from perpetrators if they are seen to go directly to the police.

Confidentiality and data protection with regard to safeguarding are of vital importance. However, there may be circumstances where information is shared to the relevant person/institution to ensure effective safeguarding measures. It should be noted that:
● Timely information sharing is essential to effective safeguarding
● Fears about sharing information must not be allowed to stand in the way of the need to promote the welfare and safety of service users including vulnerable adults
● Staff should never promise an adult that they will not tell anyone about a report of abuse, as this may not be in the adult’s best interests
The DSL will have to balance the victim’s wishes against their duty to protect the victim. The DSL should consider that:
● Families or carers should normally be informed, unless this would put the victim at greater risk
● The basic safeguarding principle is, if an adult is at risk of harm, is in immediate danger, or has been harmed, contact Wandsworth Council social care or the police:
Report adult abuse in Wandsworth

Telephone: 020 8871 7707

Training and checks
The Furzedown Project will ensure that all volunteers read and understand this policy document and understand the need to report all safeguarding concerns to the Project Director / DSL.
The Furzedown Project will ensure that all staff read and understand this policy document. All staff will also receive appropriate training in identifying the signs of abuse and understand the need to report all safeguarding concerns to the Project Director / DSL.
The Furzedown Project will ensure that the Project Director / DSL receives appropriate training so that s/he is able to carry out the role of DSL.
As part of our responsibility for safeguarding service users including vulnerable adults, The Furzedown Project undertakes DBS checks on all staff and volunteers who are undertaking “regulated activity” in their work with the organisation. A table outlining what is defined as regulated activity can be found in Appendix One.

Recognising the categories of abuse and perpetrators
The main forms of abuse are:
● Physical – hitting, punching, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint, or inappropriate sanctions.
● Sexual – rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the person has not consented or could not consent to or was pressured into consenting to.
● Psychological – emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.
● Financial – theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
● Neglect and acts of omission – ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
● Discriminatory – when a person is treated in an unfair manner because of his/her/their membership of a particular social group or when practice and procedures operate in such a way that they have a negative impact on a specific social group.
These categories of abuse are not mutually exclusive, and many situations will involve a combination of types of abuse. Any or all these categories of abuse may be perpetuated as a result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance.

Institutional abuse
Institutional abuse can include abuses by an institution itself or by an individual or individuals within that institution. On occasions, institutions may develop practices that allow the abuse of those in their care to occur as a matter of daily routine.
Factors that may undermine the creation of a positive caring culture might be weak or oppressive management, poor pay and conditions for staff, the absence of appropriate training and support for staff, a lack of clear policies and procedures or the existence of poor channels of communication within the organisation.
Neglect and poor professional practice also need to be taken into account. This may take the form of isolated incidents of poor or unsatisfactory professional practice, at one end of the spectrum, through to persuasive ill treatment or gross misconduct at the other. Repeated instances of poor care may be an indication of more serious problems and this is sometimes referred to as institutional abuse.
Within the present legal framework there may be occasions when a vulnerable adult chooses to remain at risk in a dangerous situation. Where the adult is judged to have sufficient mental capacity and chooses to refuse assistance, this decision should be respected. The details of this course of action should be clearly recorded.

Indicators of abuse
The appearance of indicators from any one of these common categories of abuse does not establish abuse or neglect but should be reported to the DSL as abuse may be occurring. Conversely, the absence of signs does not exclude abuse. A full assessment will be necessary before drawing any conclusion.

Physical abuse
The use of force that results in pain or injury or a change in the person’s natural physical state. This can include hitting, kicking, slapping, catheterisation for ‘ease of management’ etc. The following signs are some of the indicators of physical abuse:
● Bruising
● Slap marks, finger marks, welts on the face or body, bite marks
● Burns not consistent with possible explanations
● Global or specific deterioration of health without obvious cause
● Increasing immobility
● Dehydration
● Over or under use of medication
● Fractures not consistent with falls or explanation of the injury
● Unexplained loss of hair in clumps
● Cuts that not likely to be explained by self-injury
● A history of unexplained falls and/or minor injuries
● Late presentation for medical treatment
● Induced or fabricated illnesses
● Hospital admissions / illness thought to be secondary to withholding or overdosing on medication
● Suspicion that abuse has occurred would increase if an injury were not consistent with the account of how it occurred or if repeated situations occur where those involved indicate a lack of knowledge regarding how the injury occurred.

Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse can occur where the person is pressured to engage in sexual activities to which they are not able to give their informed consent, or which compromises their sexual identity. This can include rape and sexual assault. It is also important to be aware that assault and sexual abuse can take place within a relationship and within a marriage.
Indicators may include:
● Unexplained bruising around the vaginal or genital areas
● Unexplained bleeding from genital areas
● Unexplained difficulties in walking
● Reluctance of the person to be alone with an individual known to them
● Unexplained behavioural change in the person
● Fear of a carer offering to help with undressing, bathing or other intimate care

Psychological abuse
Behaviours that have a harmful effect on an adult’s emotional wellbeing and development. This could include humiliation, insults, bullying, threats, enforced isolation and ridicule. Such abuse involves depriving a person of due respect, dignity and affection.

Financial abuse
This is likely to involve access to and misappropriation of the funds, possessions or benefits of a person.
This can include:
● The use of money or property without the informed consent of the person
● Making transactions, which the person does not understand.
● Stealing directly from the person.
● Using pressure to obtain rights to property or to become a beneficiary in a will or preventing the sale of property that would release capital to provide money needed to fund the care for the person.
Indicators may include:
● Situations where, despite having a personal pension or benefits, the person is without money shortly after the collection of the benefit particularly where that person is not able to spend money without assistance.
● Unexplained withdrawals from savings accounts (large or small). The victim may have no realistic idea of how much money is in the account or what is happening to their financial affairs.
● The unexplained disappearance of financial documents such as building society books and bank statements.
● An unexplained shortage of money despite a seemingly adequate income.

Neglect may be deliberate or occur by default when a perpetrator is not able to recognise the need for care. It can include ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health care, social care or educational services and the withholding of the necessities of life such as medication, adequate nutrition or heating.
Indicators may include:
● Persistent hunger
● Loss of weight
● Poor personal hygiene
● Inappropriate dress
● Constant fatigue or listlessness
● Physical problems and medical needs
● Consistent lack of supervision for long periods, especially during potentially dangerous activities
● Denial of religious or cultural needs

Discriminatory abuse
Discriminatory abuse may occur when the victim receives inappropriate treatment because of factors such as his/her/their race, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation or gender.
Examples of discriminatory behaviour include:
● Unequal treatment
● Verbal abuse
● Inappropriate use of language
● Derogatory remarks
● Harassment
● Deliberate exclusion
● Hate crime

Institutional abuse
All abuse is the mistreatment or abuse of a person by a regime or individuals within an institution. If can be through repeated acts of poor or inadequate care and neglect or poor professional practice.
Indicators of institutional abuse may include:
● Lack of flexibility and choice
● Lack of opportunity to obtain drinks and snacks
● Lack of appropriate heating
● Lack of procedures in financial management, meeting medical requirements and other matters pertaining to the person’s care
● Derogatory remarks addressed to the person
● Public discussion of private matters
● Restraint of persons which cannot be justified in terms of their own safety
● Staff in overly controlling relationships with a person

Perpetrators of abuse
Abuse of service users may be perpetrated by a wide range of people who are usually part of the service user’s network and can include relatives, carers, a spouse, family members, and professional staff, paid care workers, volunteers, other service users, neighbours, friends and other associates.
It must be remembered that the many pressures of caring for a vulnerable adult can sometimes lead a carer to mistreat the person who relies on them for care.
In some cases, complete strangers deliberately target and exploit vulnerable people in order to abuse them. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in harm to or the exploitation of the person subjected to it. It may consist of isolated incidents, pervasive ill treatment or gross misconduct.
Abuse can take place within personal and professional relationships. It can be carried out by other service users or by people who deliberately form relationships with service users in order to exploit them.

Possible reactions of individuals who have been abused
The consequences of abuse can have profound effects on all the parties involved. These may include the following:
● Denial that abuse has occurred may be strongly stated, even in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary. There may be an attempt to convince others that an abusive or destructive relationship is normal.
● Increased agitation and anxiety may also present itself in a variety of forms from attention seeking behaviour to overly subservient behaviour.
● Parties involved can experience depression.
● Parties involved can experience confusion. This may be characterised by a marked deterioration in a previously confident person. It should also be remembered that someone who may initially appear to be confused might be trying to communicate his or her distress about an abusive event.
● A dramatic change in behaviour or personality can occur suddenly and unexpectedly and can be associated with fear following an incident of abuse.
● Physical and verbally aggressive behaviour can occur, and an individual may seem unusually hostile or be prone to overreaction.
● Self-neglect can also occur including the loss of self-esteem, a deterioration in appearance, weight loss or an erosion of personal confidence.

Checklist for action to a report of a safeguarding concern
Immediate responsibilities when suspected abuse is reported or witnessed

  1. Ascertain the basic facts
  2. Emergency response. Call the police, ambulance or contact social services.
  3. A risk assessment to ensure safety of the service user/s that may be at risk because of the alleged abuse
  4. Staff/volunteer/other service user removal from direct services if required for investigation
  5. Prepare a written record which should include:
    ● Date and time of incident
    ● Details of victim
    ● Details of alleged perpetrator
    ● What the allegations are
    ● Emergency action taken – including details of who when and how?
    ● Any injuries observed
    ● Any witnesses – witness statement (see 6)
  6. Witness statement/s
    This is not an investigation statement, this is a factual written record by the witness, what they saw or what was said to them. This statement must include:
    ● Witness details – name, address, contact details
    ● Who was abused?
    ● Where was the abuse disclosed/ observed?
    ● What was the nature of the abuse?
    ● If a disclosure, what was said? Record the service user’s actual words where possible.
    ● When was the abuse disclosed / observed, including date and time?
    ● Who else knows about the abuse / other witnesses?
    ● What (if any) action was taken by you immediately?
    ● Witness to sign, date and write name and designation clearly at the end of the witness statement
  7. Inform Wandsworth Adult Social Services
    Telephone: 020 8871 7707
    You can access further information by clicking on the following link:
    Report adult abuse in Wandsworth
    Information to have to hand:
    ● Details of alleged victim
    ● Details of alleged perpetrator – if known
    ● Details of alleged abuse, date, time etc.
    ● Details of witness/es – if any
    ● Immediate action taken – including details of names of professionals involved / contact details / crime reference number if the police have been involved
    ● Details of other service users at risk
    ● Service User’s wishes – if known
    ● Your opinion / judgement of the situation
    ● Information about other agencies involved with The Furzedown Project
  8. Questions to clarify when referring to Social Services
    ● Further action needed to reduce immediate risk?
    ● What further information is needed?
    ● Any further action needed at this stage
    ● Agree confidentiality boundaries.
    ● What to inform family and other possible relatives
    ● What to inform staff/volunteers/other service users  
    The rights of those involved in alleged cases of abuse
    The service user who is suspected of having been abused, has the right to:
    ● Protection from further harm
    ● Be listened to and to be taken seriously
    ● Information and impartial advice
    ● Information about alternative courses of action and to choose from the available options
    ● Express an opinion about criminal charges
    ● The services of an advocate / independent mental capacity advocate where appropriate
    ● An appropriate level of investigation
    ● Assurance that any allegation of abuse will be dealt with in a confidential manner
    The person who reports an allegation of abuse has a right to:
    ● Be taken seriously
    ● Protection and support
    ● An appropriate level of confidentiality
    ● Be kept informed of the action that has been taken and the outcome(s)
    The alleged perpetrator, the person who is alleged to have committed the abuse, has the right to:
    ● Seek legal representation and other advice and support as appropriate
    ● An appropriate level of confidentiality
    ● The presumption of innocence until the matter has been investigated
    ● The opportunity to state their case clearly
    ● Be treated with respect


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The Furzedown Project.

91/93 Moyser Road, London SW16 6SJ

Call: 020 8677 4283

Charity Number 1076087