What happens after you report abuse?
We will always take it seriously when someone tells us about abuse or a situation which they think could lead to abuse. Everyone is different and will need different support or advice depending on their situation. We will always make sure that an adult at risk of abuse receives the help and support they need to take action on their own behalf, to make choices and to retain control over their life.
Deciding what we will do next
What we do next will depend on things like:
- How much danger the person is in. For example, if the person is in physical danger or if there is a chance that the abuse reported could happen again.
- How much support the person needs. Some people will need lots of support in their daily lives and so might need more support to stay safe.
- What the person wants to happen. Sometimes people do not want support from the council or other organisations like the police or health services.
Sharing information with other people
Information given to us is sometimes shared with other people, such as the police or health professionals. This only happens if they need to have this information to help keep someone safe.
Keeping information safe
If you tell us you are worried about someone being abused, you may not always be told all the details of what action is taken. This is because the council has a duty to keep information about people safe.
Finding out more about the situation
A social worker from the council will plan with other people (like health staff and the police) how they can find out more about the abuse reported and how to stop it.
This is called a safeguarding enquiry. They will decide:
- Who will carry out the enquiry
- Who they will speak to
- When they will do it
An enquiry could be carried out by a social worker, a health professional or the manager of a care agency.
If a crime has been committed, the enquiry will be carried out by the police.
Making enquiries into the abuse reported
The enquiry will look at all the information available to work out:
- exactly what has happened
- how the person is at risk of abuse
- what the person wants to happen now
- how to support the person to be safe in the future.
The person doing the enquiry will usually meet with the adult at risk of abuse. They will ask them what has happened and what help they need to keep safe and to stay in control of their life.
To help us to understand more about the situation, we might also talk privately to other people who know the person at risk of abuse.
We understand that someone may be afraid, or find it difficult, to talk about what has happened to them. The person will be given the information and support they need so that they can say what they want to happen about the abuse reported.
We may invite the adult at risk of abuse to a meeting with other people who can help to make sure the person can keep safe. This could involve, family members, social workers, health professionals or the police.
At any meetings, the person can choose to have someone they trust with them, such as a family member, a friend or an advocate. This cannot be someone who is involved in the abuse.
The person can choose to have someone they trust to attend meetings and speak for them if they wish.
Arranging independent support
If we think that the person at risk of abuse needs more support to be fully involved in a safeguarding enquiry, in some circumstances we will arrange for an independent advocate to support them.
How long will a safeguarding enquiry take?
Because each situation is different, it is difficult to say how long an enquiry might take. It will depend on:
- who is involved
- how serious the situation is
- what the person at risk wants to happen
- whether the person is in immediate danger - if so, we will act quickly to keep them safe.
A social worker will keep the person at risk of abuse up-to-date with what is happening. When the enquiry is finished, the person will be told what was found out, how abuse can be stopped from happening in the future and provided with any other advice or support that is required.
What is a safeguarding plan?
If the enquiry finds that someone is still at risk of abuse, a plan may be put in place that will explain all the things that different people will do to help the person to keep safe.
The plan could include:
- support to help the person take action to keep themselves safe and stay in control of their life
- a change of support or accommodation for the person at risk of abuse
- action taken against the person who carried out the abuse
- action taken against the care and support service that was responsible for the abuse
- support to help the person to recover from the abuse.
When a plan has been made, a date will be set in the future to make sure that the person is still safe and that the plan is working.
For further information
If you require further information about our services please contact us on 01926 410410 in the first instance.