The safeguarding of vulnerable adults is high priority. All citizens and organisations have a role to play in protecting vulnerable adults from abuse, wherever and whenever it occurs.
The approach is to maintain an appropriate balance between the promotion of independence and the safeguarding of vulnerable adults. In the CSSIW Protection of Vulnerable Adults Monitoring Report for 2008 – 2009, there were 4,451 alleged cases of abuse of vulnerable adults, reported across Wales. These figures represented a 5% increase on cases reported in the previous year. With the common victims of alleged abuse being older women, the next largest category of abuse was individuals with learning disabilities.
For many vulnerable adults their abusers are closer to home and may be loved ones, or individuals into whose care they have been entrusted.
As in relation to safeguarding, those working in the care sector have a key role to play in the safeguarding/protection of vulnerable adults. However the understanding of who may be a vulnerable adult and what constitutes a safeguarding issue can be less clear.
In 2002, strategic guidance was issued to authorities in Wales, called ‘In Safe Hands’. This established the national framework for the development of local policies/procedures and guidance for the protection of vulnerable adults. In Wales the guidance was issued under section 7 of the Local Social Services Act 1970, establishing the framework for these local policies and procedures.
Therefore providing the basis for social services departments in Wales, to co-ordinate a process of local policy development, to prevent, identify, respond to and ameliorate action against perpetrators of abuse.
Four regional forums were formed in Wales, following the publication of ‘In Safe Hands’. Each region developed its own regional adult protection policy and procedures in line with the national guidance. The four regions have played the key role in the developing, agreeing