4.1 How to Deal with Disclosures of Abuse and Immediate Incidents?

Responding to a disclosure of abuse or immediate incidents needs to be done in a manner that does not threaten the victim yet at the same time extracts enough vital information that may be required for a formal report of the incident.

All suspicions should be followed up formally if vulnerable adult abuse is suspected. It is the listener’s responsibility to respond to any allegations or immediate incidents in a manner that is in line with general safeguarding policy and procedures.

In a situation of an immediate event, the listener will also be required to take action to protect the vulnerable adult. For instance, if the individual needs immediate medical attention, you are responsible for calling a suitable and qualified healthcare professional to attend to the vulnerable adult or call for an ambulance.

If it is suspected that any injuries sustained by the vulnerable individual are not accidental, it is essential to call 911 for help and report the incident. You must also be quick to preserve any evidence that could signify criminal activity.

If a serious offense has been committed, it is your responsibility to immediately contact the police or another law enforcement agency for protection.

Any disclosure of neglect or abuse should also be dealt with quickly and efficiently, and all concerns must be reported as quickly as possible so actions can be taken to keep the vulnerable adult safe.

In some cases, the abused or neglected individual may not even understand that they have been maltreated. They may not know the significance or severity of the incident.

You should also be careful of your body language and tone while listening to the disclosure. Try to remain calm. Do not show any shock or disbelief to the victim, as it might sway their opinions.

Let the vulnerable adult know that you are taking them seriously and assure them that you will help keep them safe and take steps to avoid any harm in the future. You should also ask the person what they would like you to do to help them in this situation.

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