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Provide effective support for individuals where danger, harm or abuse is suspected or disclosed

This page is designed to answer the following questions:

NOTE: Although this page has been marked as complete, it has not yet been peer-reviewed or quality-assured, therefore it should be considered a ‘first draft’ and any information should be fact-checked independently.

For this assessment criterion, you will be required to explain how to investigate and manage individual and/or group allegations where danger, harm or abuse is suspected or disclosed.

The legal and internal processes for managing complaints

All concerns, suspicions, allegations and disclosures of abuse must be taken seriously and investigated in line with legislation, local guidance from the Safeguarding Adult Board (SAB) and internal policies and procedures.

Support provided for team members/employees/volunteers

Allegations of abuse within a care setting can be deeply distressing for team members, therefore there must be channels of support available to them. This could include one-to-one and group meetings to discuss what happened. You may also signpost team members to external organisations (such as charities) that can provide confidential support.

Without support, staff morale can be adversely affected and it may lead to team members leaving or taking time off sick. They may begin to question their role and become less motivated in the workplace.

Support provided for those in receipt of care and support services

Your organisation’s safeguarding policy should include clear guidelines about how staff should support individuals that are in receipt of care and support services if they make a disclosure of abuse.

Staff should listen, reassure and take the disclosure seriously. They should ensure the individual is safe, that they were right to disclose this information and that it will be investigated.

If the individual says that they do not want anyone else to know, the team member should explain that they have a duty of care to protect the individual and others and so will have to share the information with others – however, this will be on a ‘need to know’ basis.

All disclosures should be documented and reported to the designated officer/safeguarding lead immediately.

You may also refer the individual to the local authority or other agencies that can provide them with support or you may signpost them to organisations that can help.

Why those in receipt of care and support may not complain

There are several reasons that individuals in receipt of care and support may not complain.

They may not think that their concern will be taken seriously or fear reprisals, so it is important to be clear and transparent about how complaints will be handled and how the individual will be supported through the process.

Individuals with conditions that affect their cognition, such as a learning disability, dementia or mental illness may be unaware that abuse has taken place. Therefore, it is important to ensure that team members promote the rights of individuals, that they are empowered and that they feel comfortable in making a complaint or reporting a concern.

Recommendations to improve management practice

When handling an allegation or disclosure of abuse, a manager must try to put their feelings aside and address the issue objectively in line with the organisation’s policy and procedure. This will include respecting confidentiality and remaining calm around the alleged perpetrator. This may be difficult and distressing and so the manager must ensure they have their own support network to offload. For example, they may request supervision with their own manager to discuss what has happened.

Assessment criteria

Learners explain how to investigate and manage individual and/or group allegations where danger, harm or abuse is suspected or disclosed:

  • The legal and internal processes for managing complaints
  • Support provided for team members/employees/volunteers
  • Support provided for those in receipt of care and support services
  • Why those in receipt of care and support may not complain
  • Recommendations to improve management practice
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