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Vunerable adults

The Spitz Charitable Trust is committed to protecting vulnerable adults.

All of us have a role in keeping people safe, but particularly staff and volunteers who work directly with adults or children.


Some adults may find it difficult to protect themselves from abuse, neglect or exploitation. This may be because of their mental health, physical disability, age or illness. Safeguarding adults is the work we do to help those adults keep safe from abuse and neglect. 


  • The Spitz is committed to ensuring that vulnerable people are not abused and that working practices minimise the risk of abuse.

  • The Spitz will not tolerate the abuse of people in any of its forms and is committed to safeguarding adults with care and support needs from harm.

  • Living a life that is free from harm and abuse is a fundamental right of every person.

  • All of us need to act as good neighbours and citizens in looking out for one another and seeking to prevent the isolation which can easily lead to abusive situations and put adults at risk of harm.

  • The Spitz is committed to working with the main statutory agencies – local councils, the police and NHS organisations and other local voluntary organisations to promote safer communities, to prevent harm and abuse and to deal with suspected or actual cases of abuse.

  • Our procedures aim to make sure that the safety, needs and interests of adults at risk are always respected and upheld. This includes upholding human rights.


Confidentiality and information sharing

The Spitz expects all staff, volunteers, trustees and people involved in the sessions to maintain confidentiality at all times. In line with Data Protection law. The Spitz does not share information if not required.

It should however be noted that information should be shared with authorities if an adult is deemed to be at risk of immediate harm. Sharing the right information, at the right time, with the right people can make all the difference to preventing harm. For further guidance on information sharing and safeguarding see:


Staff will seek the approval of the director governors/ board members or trustees in charge when wishing to connect to ‘at risk’ groups by phone, online or via social media.

Ensure a member of care staff is present during “Spitz on the Road” - the Spitz iPad being taken room to room for bed bound residents’ live streaming of events. Care staff should remain in the room for the duration of the residents’ time online.

While some residents may have an online presence online on social media or apps like Bandlab, their anonymity should be maintained on Spitz blogs and social media unless permission has been granted.  

Staff will, whenever possible, avoid using personal emails and personal devices. If this cannot be avoided, staff are advised to withhold telephone numbers and to be very careful about maintaining professional boundaries.

  • if working with individual ‘adults at risk’, it is good practice to involve a colleague with all interactions

  • if it is vital to work one to one online, check there is a responsible adult, who knows what you are doing, present and nearby in the home

  • always use your organisation's website, social media platform and your professional email account

  • be clear about confidentiality and how you will only share information if you are concerned about someone's welfare

  • record everything you do, real time audio and visual where possible

  • ensure everyone you work with knows and agrees to this

  • if you cannot record real time, record notes of the purpose of the session, what was said and achieved. Store them on your organisation's secure storage server or similar, wherever possible

  • retain records of ‘chatroom’ activity, where hosted by you

  • be clear how long you will keep the records

  • keep all emails for the time outlined in your privacy and data protection policies

Who is an 'adult at risk'?

An 'adult at risk' is someone who is 18 years or over who may be in need of community care due to a mental health problem, learning disability, physical disability, age or illness. As a result, they may find it difficult to protect themselves from abuse.

What is Safeguarding adults?

The Care Act 2014 sets out that adult safeguarding duties apply to any adult who:

  • has care and support needs, and

  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse and neglect, and

  • is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect, because of those needs.


Determining capacity

It is important not to assume someone lacks the capacity to make a decision for themselves, even if you disagree with it. If you are concerned that their decision-making may be putting them at risk seek advice from management who may seek a representative of the person in question, involving them as much as possible at every stage without discrimination.


What is abuse?

Adult abuse is defined as an action, occuring in any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to a vulnerable person. This can be a one-off event, an ongoing series of events (different or similar in abuse) or a failure to act in a certain way that causes harm. Abuse can be carried out by anyone in any location. 

There are many different types of abuse, including:

  • Physical – this is 'the use of force which results in pain or injury or a change in a person's natural physical state' or 'the non-accidental infliction of physical force that results in bodily injury, pain or impairment'.

  • Sexual – examples of sexual abuse include the direct or indirect involvement of the adult at risk in sexual activity or relationships which they do not want or have not consented to.

  • Emotional and psychological – this is behaviour that has a harmful effect on the person's emotional health and development, or any form of mental cruelty that results in mental distress, the denial of basic human and civil rights such as self-expression, privacy and dignity.

  • Domestic - any abuse by adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality, such as isolation, humiliation / fear, violence and limiting access to money / resources.

  • Institutional / Organisational – institutional or organisational abuse is the mistreatment or neglect of an adult at risk by a regime, or individuals within settings and services, that adults at risk live in or use. Such abuse violates the person's dignity, resulting in lack of respect for their human rights.

  • Discrimination – discriminatory abuse exists when values, beliefs or culture result in a misuse of power that denies opportunities to some groups or individuals

  • Neglect - Ignoring medical, physical or emotional needs

  • Self-neglect - those who fail or refuse to take care of their own basic needs such as food hygiene, healthcare and shelter.

  • Financial and material – this is the use of a person's property, assets, income, funds or any other resources without their informed consent or authorisation. It includes theft, fraud, exploitation and the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

  • Modern Slavery - encompassing slavery, human trafficing, forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude. This can be indicated by signs of physical abuse, seeming under the control of others, nervousness and lack of eye contact and isolation.

What to do if an adult experiencing abuse tells you about abuse or neglect

The Spitz is a charity and therefore not a statutory body with legal responsibility to safeguard vulnerable adults but the Trustees recognise that as we work with vulnerable adults in intimate care settings that we may receive disclosures of abuse or neglect; as such we must know how to handle such a disclosure.

If an adult experiencing abuse or neglect speaks to you about this, assure them that you are taking them seriously. Listen carefully to what they are saying, stay calm and get a clear and factual picture of the concern. Remain calm and try not to offer your own advice or express your own views, but note anything down where possible. Avoid using “why”questions and reassure them that they did the right thing by telling you, and that it is not their fault. 

Be honest and avoid making assurances that you may not be able to keep, for example, complete confidentiality. Be clear and say that you need to report the abuse. Do not be judgemental and try to keep an open mind.

Do not keep concerns relating to potential abuse of vulnerable adults to yourself. Confidentiality may NOT be maintained if the withholding of information will prejudice the welfare of the adult.

All staff (professionals and volunteers) of any service involved with adults at risk should inform the relevant manager if they are concerned that an adult has been abused or may be at risk of harm.

If you hear about an incident of abuse from a third party (this is when someone else tells you about what they have heard or seen happen to a vulnerable adult at risk), encourage them to report it themselves or help them to report the facts of what they know.

What to do if you suspect abuse

Everyone with a duty of care to an adult at risk should:

  • Respond: Act to protect the adult at risk, deal with immediate needs and ensure the person is, as far as possible, central to the decision making process

  • Report the abuse to an appropriate person or service the Centre Manager

  • Record: If a crime has or may have been committed, contact the police to discuss or report it and record the events.

  • Refer: Jane Glitre, the designated safeguarding lead, should keep a record of the reasons for referring the concern or reasons for not referring.


A concern may be a direct disclosure by the adult at risk, or a concern raised by staff or volunteers, others using the service, a carer or member of the public, or an observation of the behaviour of the adult at risk, or the behaviour of another.

How to make a report of suspected abuse

All concerns of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult at risk can be reported to the Islington Social Service Access Service on 020 7527 2299 /  (9-5), or 020 7226 0992 (outside office hours). However, if a serious crime has taken place or there is a need for an immediate police response to protect the adult at risk or risk to yourself, consider dialling 999.

What happens when I make a report of suspected abuse?

Referrals to the Islington Social Service Access Service will be taken from anyone who has a concern that an adult is at risk. Details from the referrer about the allegation of abuse will be needed so it is helpful to have the facts of the circumstances ready to hand.

The referral may be passed to the local safeguarding adults team or allocated to a worker who will seek to:

  • clarify the circumstances of the alleged abuse or neglect

  • take any immediate steps to protect the adult at risk, if needed

  • decide if the safeguarding adult procedures are the required and appropriate response to the situation

  • work in partnership with other agencies, like the police or health services, where necessary.

It is important to follow up any telephone conversations reporting suspected abuse with written evidence, this way information can be referred back to at any time.

If social services have not responded to a report of suspected abuse within 3 days the referrer should try again. They should keep the referee informed of the progress of the report and what will or won’t be done and why. In the event that the referrer does not agree with the decision they may then ask for a review or ask colleagues to provide any backup information to the case if they have it.

If the suspected abuse is taken to the next stage, a strategy decision will take place to ensure no further harm can come to the vulnerable adult, followed by a case conference comprising family members, the vulnerable adult where appropriate, a lead social worker and a lead statutory body. It is their job to determine a protection plan for the vulnerable adult to promote their welfare. This protection plan should be revisited every 6 months to ensure it is working and to make any changes as necessary. 

Personnel and Training

The lead member of staff for ensuring the implementation of the safeguarding adults policy is Jane Glitre. She will maintain an overview of safeguarding concerns, take a lead on liaising with other agencies and keeping informed about local developments in safeguarding. She will ensure that all staff and volunteers at The Spitz sessions will have access to relevant training and support.

Voluntary organisations (including volunteers) who support adults with care and support needs can access the basic awareness safeguarding adults training provided by Islington Council. Free on-line training is also available. 



Allegations of abuse by volunteers or staff

Volunteers and staff themselves may be the subject of an allegation of abuse. If you are the subject of such an allegation or made aware of an allegation then you must immediately report this to the lead member of staff responsible for ensuring the implementation of the safeguarding vulnerable adults policy. In these instances The Spitz will report the allegation to Social Services and ensure that they are given all assistance pursing any investigation. Suspension and/or disciplinary action may be taken.

In these circumstances The Spitz will be as supportive as possible to the employee or volunteer concerned who will also be encouraged to seek appropriate external help and support.


Staff and volunteer recruitment

When staff and volunteers are being recruited to roles that involve regular direct work with vulnerable adults this will be taken into account by The Spitz in the recruitment process, which will include DBS checks, take up of appropriate references, and relevant interview questions to ensure safer recruitment. Staff and volunteers are also required to read and acknowledge the safeguarding policies outlined in this document.


Covid Safeguarding measures


The Spitz employees take full responsibility for upholding government advice and the necessary Covid 19 safety measures to ensure the physical wellbeing and safety of residents, staff, and the whole care home community.


For all our music sessions, post lockdown, the Spitz will take the following actions to ensure these measures are met:


  • The Spitz staff and artists are offered daily Covid Tests, meaning safe entrance into the care setting upon negative results. Full consent has been established.

  • Mask wearing indoors: staff must wear face masks while on site and working indoors. Plastic shields may be used for singers or instruments which require use of mouth.

  • Mask wearing outdoors: We no longer wear masks for outdoor sessions. 

  • Thorough cleaning of all equipment should be carried out before and after each event,

  • Hand washing advice to be followed.

  • Hand sanitiser to be provided for all staff and artists,


Hospital settings

Since 2021 we have expanded our reach and now regularly deliver live music sessions in a hospital setting. We also apply all of the safeguarding measures outlined above to our work in hospitals.

This policy was last updated in January 2023

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