Safeguarding, Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic abuse

Domestic violence or abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, 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:

  • psychological
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

An offence of coercive and controlling behaviour in intimate and familial relationships was introduced into the Serious Crime Act 2015. The offence will impose a maximum 5 years imprisonment, a fine or both. In addition to this, a new Domestic Abuse bill will be debated in Parliament in the coming months, which will provide a new definition of domestic abuse, and will introduce a series of other measures to protect victims of domestic abuse.

There are a number of resources that people who are affected by domestic abuse can access locally.

For general signposting information and information about what to do if you are affected by domestic abuse, you can visit www.notaloneinsutton.org.uk for help.

If you are a resident in Sutton and are looking for specialist support or advice about domestic abuse, please contact our TRANSFORM service as follows:

Web: https://www.cranstoun.org/services/domestic-abuse/transform-sutton/

Email: transformsutton@cranstoun.org.uk

Phone: 020 8092 7569

Visit: One Stop Shop, every Wednesday 9.30am-11.30am, at Sutton Baptist Church, 21 Cheam Road, Sutton. SM1 1SN

Definition of adult safeguarding

It is important to be clear about who the formal adult safeguarding process applies to. The Care Act statutory guidance defines adult safeguarding as:

‘Protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances.’

This definition hints at the challenges of safeguarding, but it is important to be clear about which adults we are discussing. A local authority must act when it has ‘reasonable cause to suspect that an adult in its area (whether or not ordinarily resident there):

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs),
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and
  • as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.’ (Care Act 2014, section 42)

So safeguarding is for people who, because of issues such as dementia, learning disability, mental ill-health or substance abuse, have care and support needs that may make them more vulnerable to abuse or neglect.

The Six Principles

First introduced by the Department of Health in 2011, but now embedded in the Care Act, these six principles apply to all health and care settings.

Empowerment - People being supported and encouraged to make their own decisions and informed consent

Prevention - It is better to take action before harm occurs.

Proportionality - The least intrusive response appropriate to the risk presented.

Protection - Support and representation for those in greatest need.

Partnership -Local solutions through services working with their communities. Communities have a part to play in preventing, detecting and reporting neglect and abuse.

Accountability - Accountability and transparency in safeguarding practice.