Back to Responding to a report of an adult at risk of abuse and/or neglect

Engaging the adult at risk and their family

Effective person-centred practice should involve working together with the adult at risk and where appropriate their carers/family.

When undertaking s.126 Social Services and Well-being Act (Wales) 2014 enquiries, the following should be considered:

Pointers for Practice: Promoting Participation Amongst Adults at Risk with and Without Mental Capacity

Making immediate contact with the adult at risk

The adult at risk should be seen the same day if the individual:

For example, a young woman with physical and mild learning difficulties has begun a relationship with an individual. Her parents are concerned by the expensive gifts she receives from this man and suspect she is being sexually exploited. The Report-taker believes, based on the information provided that the woman may be an adult at risk. They check with the police and police records indicate this man has previous criminal convictions for sexual exploitation and grooming of young women and police become involved to ascertain whether a crime has been committed. The on-going enquiries are therefore undertaken by both social services and the police, and a joint visit is made by police and woman’s social worker.

To avoid undermining any subsequent criminal case, in any contact with an adult at risk prior to a strategy discussion , practitioners should:

Pointers for Practice: Contact with An Adult at risk Prior To Police Involvement

If the adult at risk does not want any action taken

Adults with care and support needs may be able to protect themselves from abuse, neglect and [exploitation] by others. Frailty, age or disability, for example, does not automatically preclude an individual from protecting themselves and mental capacity assessments are always situation specific.

Practitioners should always seek to respect the personal wishes and autonomy of the adult. Practitioners should ensure that the person is aware of any risks and the potential impact on their safety and well-being and encourage them to develop strategies to protect themselves. However, a professional judgement is required about the ability of an adult to make an informed choice. Practitioners should consider:

For example, an adult has multiple sclerosis and is dependent on their daily care needs being met by their partner. A duty to report is received from a health professional that the partner is emotionally abusing the adult with multiple sclerosis, who is deemed to be an adult at risk. The adult at risk indicates they want no further action taken against their partner. They explain that they can and do go to their daughter’s when things get ‘bad’.

In this situation, it is important, for practitioners to make an assessment and judgement as to whether the partner is threatening or coercing the adult at risk into requesting no further action. In addition, it is important to establish whether the daughter can protect her parent if necessary. Enquiries indicate that there was no coercion and the daughter is confident she can continue to protect her mother, so no further action is taken.

A record should be kept by practitioners that includes:

It is important that the record of the enquiry is accessible and attached to any care and support plan .

In some circumstances, the wishes of the adult at risk may be overridden. The following are examples:

Pointers for Practice: Working with Resistance from The Adult at risk and Their Carers

Pointers for Practice: Practitioner Responses to Resistance and Aggression

Pointers for Practice: Managing Family Disagreements