What is Safeguarding
Abuse happens when a person’s rights and dignity are not respected by another person. Abuse can be deliberate, or the person causing it may not understand that what they are doing is wrong.
The following are types of abuse:
Physical: Hitting, kicking, pushing, shaking, rough handling, threat of physical force, giving too much or too
Emotional: Intimidation, threats, humiliation, isolation, verbal abuse or being prevented from receiving needed services
Sexual: Sexual activity that is unwanted or not understood.
Financial: Unauthorised or improper use of a person’s funds, property, pension or benefits.
Organisational: Inadequate care, or systematic poor practice by an organisation.
Cyber: Online (internet, email or social media) bullying, intimidation, scamming or coercion.
Neglect: Neglect is when essentials such as food, heating, medication, or hygiene are withheld – and also when a person’s resources are not used for their benefit
A Safeguarding Ireland Survey Found…
- 1 in 2 Irish adults claim experience of vulnerable adult abuse.
- Physical abuse of vulnerable adults has been witnessed, or suspected, by 1 in 3 adults.
- Emotional abuse is the most common type with over 1 in 3 having experienced it.
- More than 10,000 cases of alleged abuse are reported to the HSE Safeguarding and Protection Teams each year.
How to recognise abuse
Signs of abuse range from changes in a person’s appearance to unexpected changes to their financial arrangements.
- Unexplained bruises, markes or injuries.
- Unusual weght loss.
- Physical problems like bedsores.
- Being shabby, or unkept.
- Dirty, or unsafe living conditions.
- Inexplicable shortage of money.
- Suspicious addition of names to financial accounts.
- Unexpected changes to will, or power of attorney.
- Becoming noticeably withdrawn, angry or scared.
- Tearfulness, crying not saying why.
- The person is prevented from seeing you on their own.
- Contol – you sense someone is trying to control a person’s affairs.
Who is most at risk?
Planning Ahead is recommended for all adults, especially those who are getting older and is particularly important for vulnerable people such as those living with:
- Reduced decision-making capacity
- Age related fraility
- A serious or sudden illness
- A mental or physical disability
- An acquired brain injury
- Under the control of another person.
Call it out!
Safeguarding Ireland’s advice is – if you suspect abuse – take action and Call it Out.
HSE safeguarding and Protection Teams provide services and support in each region of the country.
Call the HSE’s National Safeguarding Office at (061) 461 358, or find details on this website’s CONTACTS page.
It is against the law to use another person’s money without their consent. If someone is unable to provide consent, approval to act on their behalf must be legally secured with the bank, State or Post Office. The appointed person must keep records of all spending.
The prescribing of medication or changes to medical prescriptions can only be carried out by a registered healthcare professional authorised to do so.
It is against the law to lock a person into a room, or strap them to a bed. If a person with dementia needs intensive supervision, professional advice and support should be sought.
Plan Ahead – it’s better for everybody
Planning ahead is an important part of preventing adult abuse and safeguarding. It means that if in the future, you did not have the capacity to make our own decisions (due to illness, or age-related frailty) that there is clarity on your future wishes regarding healthcare, where you would like to be cared for, who can act on your behalf, and use of your money.
This means Planning Ahead now – thinking about, talking about and recording these important preferences. Advance planning also safeguards against risks of being treated badly, disrespected, or suffering from adult abuse when we are vulnerable.
Having our choices easily accessible if needed is also better for all of those around us – reducing potential for stresses and tensions among loved ones, and for providing information to healthcare professionals.
Steps to ‘Plan Ahead’
The recommended way to plan future healthcare is to put in place an Advance Healthcare Directive, a document that is recognised in law. You can talk with your Doctor about making one – and keeping it where it can be easily found.
In it you can record future healthcare preferences including treatment approches, surgery, medicines and resuscitation.
2. Place of Care
In the event that you became unable to live independently – you should have made clear your choices on Place of Care.
Would you prefer to live at home with supports, in a nursing home, or a hospice, remain in a hospital, or live with a family member or friend?
3. Enduring Power of Attorney
An Enduring Power of Attornet means giving legal and financial decision-making powers to a chosen person if you lack decision-making capacity. All adults are encouraged to put in place an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA).
You can phone or email your Solicitor and they can advise you on how best to put an EPA in place. If you need financial assistance, you may qualify for legal aid.
We all need to prepare for the likelihood that one day we may need help managing our finances. Unfortunatly financial abuse is a significant issue for older people. We should talk with someone we trust and plan our finances. Banks and An Post are keen to work with customers to safeguard their finances.
Turn your wishes into PLANS
It may not alway be possible to deliver on all of our wishes.
However, by being discussed and recored your preferences can be at the centre of omportant conversations or decisions about you, if you were unable to act independently.
Unfortunately adult abuse occurs, particularly at times when we are vulnerable. We know that Planning Ahead greatly reduces the risk of being treated badly, or suffering adult abuse.
Planning Ahead is also better for those most important to us. Our clarity reduces the potential for tension or stress among loved ones and families. It also helps healthcare professionals to provice the best possible care for us.
Plan Ahead – it’s better for everybody.
2022 Information Videos
SAFEGUARDING: Prevent Adult Abuse – Decision-Making.
SAFEGUARDING: Respond to Adult Abuse – the HSE.
SAFEGUARIDNG: Respond to Adult Abuse – the Gardaí.
SAFEGUARDING: Future Structures – An Independent Safeguarding Authority.
2021 Information Videos
What Is Adult Safeguarding
Different Types of Adult Abuse
Safeguarding Adults with Disabilities
Planning Ahead – Financial
Planning Ahead – Healthcare
Financial Abuse – Banking
Financial Abuse – Money and Budgeting