14 Oldpark Terrace, Belfast BT14 6NN

Safegaurding Vulnerable Adults Policy



1.1 The purpose of this policy is to outline the duty and responsibility of staff, volunteers and trustees working on behalf of the North Belfast Harriers in relation to Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults.

1.2 All adults have the right to be safe from harm and must be able to live free from fear of abuse, neglect and exploitation.

“Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or person’s”


2.1 To explain the responsibilities the club and its staff, volunteers and trustees have in respect of vulnerable adult protection.

2.2 To provide staff and volunteers with an overview of vulnerable adult protection

2.3 To provide a clear procedure that will be implemented where vulnerable adult protection issues arise.

2.4 To ensure that any adults at risk of abuse that choose to participate in North Belfast Harriers have a safe and fun experience


3.1 For the purpose of this policy ‘adult’ means a person aged 18 years or over.

3.2 What do we mean by abuse?

3.2.1 Abuse of a vulnerable adult may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may occur as a result of a failure to undertake action. It may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur where a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which they have not, or cannot, consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the individual.

3.3 Who is included under the heading ‘vulnerable adult?’

3.3.1 An Adult (a person aged 18 or over) who ‘is or may be in need of community care services because of learning or physical disability, older age or physical or mental illness

3.3.2 An adult who is or may be, unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect themselves from harm or exploitation by others


4.1 Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

4.2 The Safeguarding Vulnerable groups (Northern Ireland) Act 2007

4.3 Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom on Information Act 2000, Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, Code of Practice2008

4.4 No Secrets- Guidance on developing and implementing policies and procedures
to protect vulnerable adults from abuse

4.5 The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and code of practice


5.1 North Belfast Harriers fully accept their legal and moral responsibility to provide a duty of care to protect all adults at risk of abuse and safeguard their welfare, irrespective of age, disability, gender, ethnicity, gender identity, religion or belief and sexual orientation
5.2 This document is based on the following principles
• Everyone has the right to live their live free from violence, fear and abuse.
• All adults have the right to be protected from harm and exploitation
• All adults have the right to independence which involves a degree of risk
5.3 The right to privacy and dignity of any vulnerable adult will be respected at all times and protection of all confidential information is recognised as good practice. In every situation it is assumed that a person can make their own decisions unless it is proven that they are unable to do so
• The sharing of information must be strictly on a needs to know basis as stipulated in the Data Protection Act (1998)
• Information consent should be obtained as far as possible
• No assurance of absolute confidentiality should be given and should not be confused with secrecy as this may hinder the safeguarding objectives of making people safe

6.1 All staff, volunteers and trustees working on behalf of the club have a duty to promote the welfare and safety of vulnerable adults.
6.2 Staff, volunteers and trustees may receive disclosures of abuse and observe vulnerable adults who are at risk. This policy will enable staff/volunteers to make informed and confident responses to specific adult protection issues.


Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by another person or persons

Consensus has emerged identifying the following main different forms of abuse

7.1 Physical abuse – including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint, or inappropriate sanctions.

7.2 Sexual abuse – including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented, or could not consent or was pressured into consenting.

7.3 Psychological abuse – including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.

7.4 Financial or material abuse – including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

7.5 Neglect and acts of omission – including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

7.6 Discriminatory abuse – including race, sex, culture, religion, politics, that is based on a person’s disability, age or sexuality and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment, hate crime.

Any or all of these types of abuse may be perpetrated as a result of deliberate intent, negligence or

The following is a list of some indicators of abuse, but it is not exhaustive:

 Unexplained bruising in soft tissue areas
 Repeated injuries
 Black eyes
 Injuries to the mouth
 Torn or bloodstained clothing
 Burns or scalds
 Bites
 Fractures
 Marks from implements
 Inconsistent stories/excuses relating to injuries  Unexplained changes in behaviour – becoming withdrawn or aggressive
 Difficulty in making friends
 Distrustful of adults or excessive attachment to adults
 Sudden drop in performance
 Changes in attendance pattern
 Inappropriate sexual awareness, behaviour or language
 Reluctance to remove clothing


8.1 It is important that vulnerable adults are protected from abuse. All complaints, allegations or suspicions must be taken seriously.

8.2 This procedure must be followed whenever an allegation of abuse is made or when there is a suspicion that a vulnerable adult has been abused.

8.3 Promises of confidentiality must not be given as this may conflict with the need to ensure the safety and welfare of the individual.

8.4 A full record shall be made as soon as possible of the nature of the allegation and any other relevant information.

8.5 This must include information in relation to the date, the time, the place where the alleged abuse happened, your name and the names of others present, the name of the complainant and, where different, the name of the adult who has allegedly been abused, the nature of the alleged abuse, a description of any injuries observed, the account which has been given of the allegation.

8.6 The record of the disclosure should be given to the club Welfare Officer as soon as possible and no later than 24hrs from disclosure


8.7 The role of the designated officer is to deal with all instances involving adult protection that arise within the organisation. They will respond to all vulnerable adult protection concerns and enquiries.

8.8 The designated Vulnerable Adult Protection Lead for the Club is the Club Welfare Officer

8.9 In the event of a formal referral the Welfare Officer shall telephone and report the matter to the appropriate local adult social services duty social worker. A written record of the date and time of the report shall be made and the report must include the name and position of the person to whom the matter is reported. The telephone report must be confirmed in writing to the relevant local authority adult social services department within 24 hours.


9.1 In the event of an incident or disclosure:


 Make sure the individual is safe
 Stay calm and try not to show shock
 Listen carefully
 Offer support and reassurance be sympathetic
 Ascertain and establish the basic facts
 Make careful notes and obtain agreement on them
 Ensure notation of dates, time and persons present are correct and agreed
 tell the person they did the right thing in talking to you, you are treating the information seriously and it is not their fault.
 Explain areas of confidentiality and that you have to pass the information to the welfare officer


 Be judgmental or voice your own opinion
 Be dismissive of the concern
 Investigate or interview beyond that which is necessary to establish the basic facts
 Consult with persons not directly involved with the situation
 Ask leading questions
 Assume Information
 Make promises of confidentiality or otherwise
 Ignore the allegation
 Elaborate in your notes
 Gossip about the incident

9.2 It is important to remember that the person who first encounters a case of alleged abuse is not responsible for deciding whether abuse has occurred. This is a task for the Welfare Officer, or protection agencies, following a referral from the Welfare Officer.


10.1 Adult Social Services

10.1.1 The Department of Health’s recent ‘No secrets’ guidance document requires that authorities develop a local framework within which all responsible agencies work together to ensure a coherent policy for the protection of vulnerable adults at risk of abuse.

10.1.2 All local authorities have a Safeguarding Adults Board, which oversees multi-agency work aimed at protecting and safeguarding vulnerable adults. It is normal practice for the board to comprise of people from partner organisations who have the ability to influence decision making and resource allocation within their organisation.

10.2 The Police

10.2.1 The Police play a vital role in Safeguarding Adults with cases involving alleged criminal acts. It becomes the responsibility of the police to investigate allegations of crime by preserving and gathering evidence. Where a crime is identified, the police will be the lead agency and they will direct investigations in line with legal and other procedural protocols.

Health and Social Care Trust’s Clubs adopting this policy should add the number of their local HSCT.
NSPCC Helpline 0808 800 5000
PSNI Public Protection Unit 028 9065 0222
Ask for your local Public Protection Unit
Childline Freephone 0800 1111
Sport Northern Ireland 028 9038 1222
Child Protection in Sport Unit 028 9035 5756


11.1 ‘No Secrets’ report

11.1.1 The first national policy developed for the protection of vulnerable adults, for use by all health and social care organisations and the police. It introduced guidance around local multi-agency arrangements and was issued under Section 7 of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970. Its implementation is led by local authorities with social services responsibilities.


11.2 Action on Elder Abuse (AEA) is a charity working to protect, and prevent the abuse of, vulnerable older adults.


11.3 The Centre for Policy on Ageing was established in 1947 by the Nuffield Foundation with a remit to focus on the wide-ranging needs of older people