Principles underpinning policy and procedure

Where abuse occurs the guiding principles must be the safety, well-being and independence of the person being abused.

All persons have the right to live their lives free from violence and abuse. This right is underpinned by the duty on public agencies under the Human Rights Act (1998) to intervene proportionately to protect the rights of citizens.  

These rights include Article 2:  ‘the Right to life’; Article 3: ‘Freedom from torture’ (including humiliating and degrading treatment); and Article 8:  ‘Right to family life’ (one that sustains the individual).

Any adult at risk of abuse or neglect should be able to access public organisations for appropriate interventions which enable them to live a life free from violence and abuse.

It follows that all citizens should have access to relevant services for addressing issues of abuse and neglect, including the civil and criminal justice systems and victim support services.  Remedies available should also include measures that achieve behaviour change by those who have perpetrated abuse or neglect.

Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons.” ‘No Secrets’ (DH 2000)

In practice this means that all partner organisations must:

  1. Actively work together within this inter-agency framework;
  2. Actively promote the empowerment and well-being of vulnerable adults through the services they provide;
  3. Act in a way which supports the rights of the individual to lead an independent life based on self determination and personal choice;
  4. Recognise people who are unable to take their own decisions and/or to protect themselves, their assets and keep safe;
  5. Ensure the safety of vulnerable adults by integrating strategies, policies and services relevant to abuse within the current legal framework;
  6. Ensure that when the right to an independent lifestyle, choice and control is at risk the individual concerned receives appropriate help, and ensure that such risk is recognised and understood by all concerned, and minimised whenever possible (there should be an open discussion between the individual and the agencies about the risks involved to him or her);
  7. Ensure that the law and statutory requirements are known and used appropriately so that vulnerable adults receive the protection of the law and access to the judicial process.

This page was last updated on 4 October 2009

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