Supporting the victim
Adult Safeguarding meetings are established to ensure the safety of victims of abuse. Salford is committed to involving alleged victims as fully as possible in the processes so that they are involved and in control that they gain an understanding of what the options are and what can and is being done to make their lives safer. This can be achieved by involvement in the safeguarding meeting or separately via their care coordinator who can explain to them what the processes are, and keep them informed throughout the process including providing feedback about any meetings. This will ensure the views; wishes and feelings of the victim are kept in the forefront. Victims and carers should be kept fully informed and consulted with as throughout the safeguarding process.
Where the victim would like to attend the meetings they may need support from other people, friends or relatives, staff who know them well and/or recognised advocates from acknowledged schemes or where appropriate an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA) The task in such cases to maximise the involvement of the alleged victim.
In deciding how involvement takes place the chair of the safeguarding meeting will consult with the police to ensure any statements they may take are not compromised. They will also consult with anyone who knows the individual well in respect of their capacity to participate in meetings.
If there is no concern about the individual's capacity to be involved then they should be asked how they would like to be involved. Where there are concerns about an individual's capacity to contribute to a meeting this should be recorded in the minutes of that meeting along with information as to how their views are or have been sought and incorporated into the safeguarding process. The decision about involvement should be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
Anyone accompanying an individual in a safeguarding meeting should not take a record of that meeting either in writing, or via electronic audio or video recording equipment.
It should be noted that the safeguarding process is not a 'legal' one. It is not considered appropriate to allow legally qualified representatives such as solicitors to accompany individuals in case this inhibits or intimidates other parties attending the meetings- the focus of the meetings and any interviews are to establish what may or may not have happened to a vulnerable adult and identify what steps may be needed to safeguard the individual from harm in the future, not to apportion blame or seek to acquire evidence for other potential legal action.
It is essential that properly trained interpreters are available throughout these processes where required. This includes BSL signing and other sensory interpretation support as well as interpretation where English is not a first language. Documents used within the process will also need to be available in alternative formats, languages or other support offered.
A local authority or NHS body have powers to instruct an IMCA to support and represent a person who does not have capacity to consent to proposed measures in two circumstances:
- Where it is alleged that the person has been or is being abused or neglected by another person or
- The person has abused or is abusing another person.
Local authorities or the NHS can only instruct an IMCA if they are proposing to take (or have already taken) protective measures.
Access to an IMCA in safeguarding procedures is not restricted to people who have no-one other than paid carers. People who lack capacity who do have family and friends are still entitled to have an IMCA to support them. However, the decision-maker (which could include the chair of the meeting) must be satisfied that having an IMCA would be of benefit to the person. Further information can be found in SCIE guidance on the role of the IMCA in adult safeguarding.
- To talk to the chair of the meeting before it takes place.
- Try to make sure that the chair is aware of the person's support needs.
- To establish how the meeting will be run and the areas it will cover and those it will not.
- To help the person to prepare for the meeting beforehand.
- With the chairperson's consent the supporter will be provided with relevant reports and paperwork. The supporter will discuss the content of the meeting and support the person to prepare anything they might want to say in the meeting or present to the meeting in a written or recorded format.
- To help people supported to understand what is going on during the meeting.
- For example the person supported can speak to their supporter during the meeting whilst the meeting is going on or can ask for a break to do this.
- To help the person speak up in a meeting and to be heard by others in the meeting.
- To help to ensure that the meeting runs in a way that includes the person supported.
- The supporter may intervene in the meeting or talk to the chair during a break to make sure that this happens.
- Give feedback to the chair after the meeting.
NB 1 It is important that the support understands their role:
- The supporter should not attempt to influence the person or put words in their mouth. The supporter should only point out and explain the options when helping someone to make a decision.
- The supporter is not at the meeting in their own right and cannot speak on their own behalf.
- The supporter cannot contribute to the discussions other than to support the victim in what they want to say.
- The supporter should agree to comply with the confidentiality statement and sign their agreement to this effect.
- There is no right of accompaniment to adult safeguarding meetings. All attendees are there at the discretion of the chair of the adult safeguarding meeting.
Details of all the latest news from Salford Safeguarding Adults Board.