Safeguarding children and adults at risk of abuse or neglect policy and procedure

Increased risk

There are certain situations and factors that put people at particular risk of abuse. If one or more of these factors are present, it does not mean that abuse will occur but it will increase the risk:

  • isolation
  • living in the same household as an abuser
  • a previous history of abuse
  • the existence of financial problems
  • a member of the household experiences emotional or social isolation
  • inappropriate physical or emotional environment e.g. lack of privacy and/or personal space
  • where there has been a change of lifestyle e.g. illness, unemployment or employment
  • dependence on others for personal and practical care
  • where a person is dependent on other people to administer money or where several people manage their money
  • where the vulnerable person exhibits difficult and challenging behaviour
  • the carer has difficulties such as debt, alcohol or mental health problems
  • poor leadership in care services
  • unmonitored provision of care e.g. where reviews or inspections do not take place
  • failure to comply with standard operating policies and procedures

Increased risk to vulnerable children

There are many issues that may contribute to child abuse, but some factors increase the risk to children and make them more vulnerable to abuse. They can be found in the background of parents, in the environmental situation and in attributes of the child themselves.

Parental factors

These include:

  • parent has a mental illness
  • parent is misusing drugs or alcohol
  • parent has already abused a child
  • parent has previously had children removed
  • unwanted pregnancy or terminations
  • parent has a background of abuse when growing up
  • parents have unrealistic expectations of the child and lack parenting knowledge
  • parent is isolated and has little support
  • parent has a learning difficulty/disability

Environmental factors

These include:

  • overcrowding in the house
  • poverty or lack of opportunity to improve the family's resources
  • domestic abuse is present
  • a non biological adult (i.e. unrelated) living in the house
  • family is experiencing multiple stresses

Child factors

These include:

  • baby is sickly, colicky or unwanted
  • child has a physical or learning disability
  • lack of attachment between child and parent
  • child resides in care, particularly residential
  • child is excluded from mainstream school
  • child uses drugs or alcohol
  • child goes missing
  • child is living in private fostering arrangements

It is possible to limit the situations where the abuse of children and adults at risk may occur, by promoting good practice to all staff and elected members.