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3.4 Abuse by Another Adult at Risk


Abuse by another adult with care and support needs, irrespective of the Capacity of either, within a service setting should be addressed as a Safeguarding Adults issue. It is not acceptable for organisations to respond internally to incidents due to becoming accustomed to their nature and / or frequency.

Regulatory, contract and commissioning agencies need to be informed of the concerns, and be given an opportunity to engage in decision making around these issues.

Multi-agency Safeguarding Adults procedures apply as the abuse may constitute a criminal offence. Organisations that aim to provide support to service users who have complex and challenging behaviour need to have an understanding of the history and needs of the adults involved to ensure that they are able to both protect and prevent abuse of adults with care and support needs from their peers within the service.

The organisation must carry out an assessment to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of the adult and to develop a Care Plan and risk assessment to meet those needs.

The safety of the adult who may have been abused is paramount. Organisations may also have responsibilities towards the adult known or suspected of abusing others, and certainly will have if both adults are in a care setting or have contact because they attend the same place (for example a day centre).

In this situation it is important that the needs of the Adult at Risk are addressed separately from the needs of the person (s) responsible for the alleged abuse.

It may be necessary to reassess the adult responsible for the alleged abuse, considering the following:

  • The extent to which the adult with care and support needs is able to understand his or her actions;
  • The extent to which the Abuse reflects the needs of the adult with care and support needs not being met (for example risk assessment recommendations not being met);
  • The likelihood that the adult with care and support needs will further abuse the adult or others.

The principles and responsibilities of reporting a crime apply regardless of whether the person causing abuse deemed to be an adult with care and support needs.

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