Investigating alleged abuse or neglect
All adults have the right to live free from fear, harm, abuse and exploitation. Most adults are able to protect themselves from harm; however there may be times in your life when a bit of extra help may be needed. This may be due to illness, age or disability.
This applies where a local authority has reasonable cause to suspect that an adult in its area (whether or not ordinarily resident there):
- has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs)
- is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and
- as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.
An adult safeguarding referral is made to the local authority (Cheshire West and Chester), when you or someone else who is concerned that you are being abused or harmed. Sometimes the referral has been done anonymously (we do not know who the referrer is), but we still have to listen and act on information given to us.
A social worker will speak with you where possible (and your family/friends if you give us permission to do so). If you are unable to give permission we will make a decision based on whether it is in your best interests to share this information with your family. If you have someone acting as a power of attorney for welfare decisions we will share information with them (unless there are good reasons not to).
The social worker will ask you or your family what outcome you want from the safeguarding process, it may be that we are not always able to achieve your desired outcomes, but will we explain this to you where we can.
Social workers are not the police, so if a crime has been committed the police may be involved and may take the lead on any investigation. It is our job to look into this along with colleagues perhaps from the police or health.
Sometimes what people complain about is poor quality of care, we advise where possible for you to discuss this with the provider manager, explain your concerns and give them an opportunity to put things right, if this does not work then contact us again. The Council has staff who undertake quality audit visits, your concerns may be dealt with by this team if they don't meet the thresholds for a safeguarding investigation.