Vulnerable adult/adult at risk/person with care and support needs
The use of the term ‘vulnerable’ is not popular as it may suggest that all people with care and support needs are vulnerable and attaches vulnerability to people rather than looking at the risks that face them. To rectify this, SCIE and others have used the term ‘adult at risk’. The definition of an adult at risk is not clearly or consistently agreed upon across sectors and terminology in the law is changing, in particular as a result of the Care Act. Local discussion and agreement is currently essential if frontline staff are to understand the various definitions.

The Care Act refers to ‘people with care and support needs’ and we have used this term throughout this resource. All staff that come into contact with people with care and support needs who may be vulnerable to abuse and neglect should understand that safeguarding procedures apply to this group. ‘The level of needs is not relevant, and the adult does not need to have eligible needs for care and support, or be receiving any particular service from the local authority, in order for the safeguarding duties to apply.’

Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons. Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or an omission to act, or it may occur when a person with care and support needs is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she has not consented, or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the person subjected to it. Adult safeguarding is the process of protecting adults with care and support needs from abuse or neglect. This may include empowering and enabling people to protect themselves.

Type of abuse: