VULNERABLE ADULTS POLICY
- Stanton Ilkeston Football Club is committed to football being inclusive and providing a safe and positive experience for everyone involved in the game. Whilst it is hoped that the law, the Respect programme, the club’s Equality Policy and positive approaches to training and education are sufficient to safeguard all adults in football, we recognise that we has a responsibility to safeguard vulnerable adults from abuse and harm and to respond where abuse and harm are perceived to have occurred.This Policy will seek to provide guidance as to how to prevent harm, give clarity on how to report harm, to ensure investigation into harm and to respond to the outcome of such investigations in such a way so as to reduce the risk of further harm to the individual vulnerable adult and to other vulnerable adults who may be affected in the future.Stanton Ilkeston Football Club recognises that the terms ‘vulnerable adult’, ‘abuse’ and ‘harm’ are open to interpretation and challenge but for the purpose of this vulnerable adult Policy they will be defined as follows:1.1 Vulnerable adults refers to all those adults (over 18) who have a physical disability, suffering from mental illness, have a learning disability or who, through illness or injury, are unable to provide adequately for themselves at that point Risk refers to any situation or behaviour by an individual or others which presents a real or potential threat or harm to a person’s health, safety or well-being.
These policies and procedures also relate to staff and volunteers on whom someone described above is significantly dependant for their care and who may be at risk as a result of that person’s behaviour or action.
1.2 Individual rights
Every person has the right to a lifestyle which maintains personal independence, safeguards privacy, offers genuine and informed choices, provides opportunities to enjoy and contribute to society and enables them to have their social, cultural and individual needs met. They also have the right to protection from harm or exploitation.
1.3 Positive aspects of risk taking
The vast majority of vulnerable adults live active and independent lives. This inevitably involves varying degrees of risk taking as a normal part of day to day living, and without which there would be a significant reduction in quality of life. Risk taking therefore needs to be viewed positively in those circumstances where people are able to make reasonable, informed and calculated decisions involving risk taking and safety.
2 Types of risk
2.1 There are many and varied circumstances in which vulnerable adults might be considered at risk requiring a response. These fall into two broad categories
• People at risk because of self-neglect or as a result of their own behaviour or lifestyle. Through direct contact with a vulnerable adult a member of staff or volunteer may become concerned about potential risk that may require action.
• People at risk because of the actions or behaviours of others.
2.2 Risk arising from self-neglect or a person’s own behaviour or lifestyle.
A. A vulnerable person may require assessment or investigation from an appropriate agency (Health or Social Services) where
• They are unable to provide adequate care for themselves, or
• They are unable to obtain care necessary for their needs, or
• They are unable to make reasonable decisions because of their state of mental health, or
• They are living in insanitary/unsafe accommodation or are homeless, or
• They have refused essential services, without which their health and safety needs cannot be met, or
• Their behaviour is such that it presents a real or potential threat of harm to their own health, safety or well-being or to that of others.
B. While many risk situations will come to attention through one significant incident that may involve immediate physical danger, equally serious situations develop more slowly through marginal changes or gradual deterioration in an individuals circumstances which can be more difficult to identify. For example, people suffering from dementia may need particular consideration due to the progressive nature of their condition.
C. The following are typical of some of the risk factors which might be identified
• Physical, e.g. accidents including fire malnutrition, hypothermia, neglect, and alcohol or drug misuse, including prescribed medication.
• Mental health- e.g. depression, dementia, fears, guilt, paranoia and suicidal tendencies
• Social-e.g. social isolation, exploitation, antagonism, marital difficulties, relationship problems, sexual dishinibition
• Psychological- e.g trauma arising from past experience of abuse, serious accident or sudden loss
2.3 Risk arising from the behaviour of others
A number of vulnerable adults are at risk as a result of the actions or behaviours of other people, either intentionally or unintentionally. The main categories of abuse are listed below, although this is not exhaustive. Abuse exists in the context of the relationship and means that both the behaviour of the abuser and the effects on the abused come into the definition
• Physical abuse
Typical examples of physical abuse are slapping, hitting, physical restraint, over-use of medication, pushing, forcing people to do things against their will and depravation of care including food and medication. Typical effects of the physical abuse are bruises, burns, fractures, pressure stores, malnutrition or impaired health. Examples of physical abuse that may occur in sport may include be when the nature and intensity of training and competition exceeds the capacity of the athlete; where drugs are used to enhance performance; where physical punishments are used.
• Psychological abuse
This can be referred to as emotional abuse, mental abuse and verbal abuse. Typical examples of behaviours are blame, insults, humiliation, swearing, threats, neglect and denying a person of the right to make their own decisions. Typical effects are mental anguish, fear and depression. Psychological abuse in sport may occur if athletes are subjected to constant criticism, name-calling, and sarcasm, bullying or unrealistic pressure to perform to high expectations.
• Financial abuse
This is sometimes referred to as material abuse and financial exploitation. Typical examples of behaviour are theft or misuse of property, possessions and insurance, blocking the access of a person to their assets, and extortion. Typical examples of effects are having inadequate money to pay bills including rent, having a “disappearing pension” and losing control of ones financial affairs.
• Sexual abuse
This can be any form of sexual exploitation, ranging from the inappropriate use of sexually explicit language that causes offence to forced penetration and includes the involvement of adults in sexual activities they do not fully comprehend or to which they have not given their consent or which violates the sexual taboos or family roles. Typical examples of effects are emotional distress, feelings of guilt or shame and withdrawn behaviour.
• Social abuse
Typical examples of behaviour are confining a person to a room on their own, preventing them form seeing friends or relatives or having other social contact, denying access to services and refusal of transportation. Typical examples of effects are withdrawn behaviour, prolonged loneliness, sense of isolation and depression.
3. Principles of intervention
3.1 Reasonable, informed and calculated risk taking play an important part in contributing to the quality of life of both young and old; this is a matter of choice, demonstrating an individual’s right of self determination and autonomy. However, where the health, safety and well being of vulnerable adults are seriously threatened as a result of self-neglect or abuse by others, there is a commitment to make every effort to identify, prevent or minimise such risks. In exercising these responsibilities sports organisations must be aware of, and sensitive to, an individuals ethnic origin, culture, religious beliefs, gender and sexual orientation.
3.2 It is not the role of Stanton Ilkeston Football Club to determine if an individual is at risk or experience abuse. The identification, assessment, protection and care of vulnerable adults is a multi-disciplinary, inter-agency responsibility, which should involve anyone with relevant knowledge or involved in providing support to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals concerned. Stanton Ilkeston Football Club should work in partnership with statutory agencies.
In exercising their responsibilities Stanton Ilkeston Football Club will recognise that vulnerable people and their carers have separate rights in relation to independence, decision making and choice. Every effort will be made to assist in reconciling differences when the rights and responsibilities of individuals conflict, but such reconciliation may not always be possible.
3.4 Where a person appears to be at risk, every reasonable effort will be made to identify the specific problems or dangers. The concerns should be discussed with the individual and also relatives and others providing care and support, and where possible agreement reached on actions which will reduce the risk to an acceptable level, taking into account the chosen lifestyle of the person concerned. Where a sports organisation identifies a concern this should be reported to the appropriate agency.
3.5 Where direct intervention in a person’s life is required because of the level of risk to which he or she is exposed, or because of the limitations on his or her capacity to make informed decisions, the intervention should be at the level necessary to ensure appropriate and sensible protection is provided. In these circumstances the involvement of an advocate should also be considered to help protect the interests of the person concerned.
3.6 Where abuse has been identified it may be necessary to take immediate action to prevent or stop it. This might include ensuring that the alleged abuser no longer has access to the vulnerable person concerned. Where it appears that an offence has been committed against a vulnerable person who is unable to make informed decisions and that person remains in danger of physical harm, the police must be immediately notified.
4 Procedures for responding to concerns relating to vulnerable adults or others who are at risk.
4.1 Situations where vulnerable persons or others are considered to be at risk of abuse, or where actual abuse is suspected, or situations of serious self-neglect should be referred to the Social Services Department.
4.2 Action if there are concerns the following action should be taken if there are concerns
• If, following consideration, the allegation is clearly about poor practice; the Club Welfare Officer will deal with it as a misconduct issue.
• If the allegation is about poor practice by the Club Welfare Officer, or if the matter has been handled inadequately and concerns remain, it should be reported to the Community Director who will decide how to deal with the allegation and whether or not to initiate disciplinary proceedings.
• Any suspicion that a child has been abused by either a member of staff or a volunteer should be reported to the Club Welfare Officer, who will take such steps as considered necessary to ensure the safety of the individual in question and any others who may be at risk.
• The Club Welfare Officer will refer the allegation to the social services department who may involve the police, or go directly to the police if out-of-hours.
• The parents or carers of the individual will be contacted as soon as possible following advice from the social services department.
• The Club Welfare Officer should also notify the Community Director who in turn will inform The FA who will be responsible for ensuring the Stanton Ilkeston Football Club vulnerable adults policy is adhered to.
• If the Club Welfare Officer is the subject of the suspicion/allegation, the report must be made to the appropriate Manager who will refer the allegation to Social Services.
Every effort should be made to ensure that confidentiality is maintained for all concerned. Information should be handled and disseminated on a need to know basis only. This includes the following people:
• The Club Welfare Officer
• The parents of the person who is alleged to have been abused.
• The person making the allegation.
• Social services/police.
• The DCFA Safeguarding Officer.
• The alleged abuser (and parents if the alleged abuser is a child)*.
* Seek social services advice on who should approach alleged abuser.