A child is defined as any person under the age of 18, whether living with their families, in state care or living independently. [Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018, p.7, updated Dec 2020]
In England, protecting children at risk is defined as:
- Protecting children from abuse and maltreatment;
- Preventing impairment of children’s health or development;
- Ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care;
- Taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes. [Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018]
Adult with care and support needs
In England an adult with care and support needs is defined as a person aged 18 or over whom:
- Has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs) and;
- Is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
- As a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect. [Care Act 2004, section 42]
An adult with care and support needs could be a member of the public (including but not limited to someone who benefits from services or activities we have funded or contracted out to others), someone we fund or contract with, or a member of staff. Whoever they are, any concerns should be shared in accordance with this policy.
Abuse is a form of mistreatment by one individual that causes harm to another person. The range of abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and child sexual exploitation.
Abuse and neglect of Children
A form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Child sexual exploitation
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or
wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.
The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: a. provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment) b. protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger c. ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers) d. ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Abuse and neglect of Adults with care and support needs
A form of abuse which may involve slapping, hitting, pushing, restraining, misuse of medication, restraint, being denied food or water, or not being helped to go to the bathroom when you need to.
The persistent emotional maltreatment of an adult could include humiliating, blaming, controlling intimidating or harassing, verbal abuse, cyberbullying and isolation.
This includes sexual activity with someone without their permission or sexual activity with someone who is not able to give their consent. Sexual activity includes indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate touching or looking, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, being forced to watch pornography or sexual acts, being forced or pressured to take part in
sexual acts and rape.
Unfairly manipulating someone for profit or personal gain. This could be planned or something done on the spur of the moment.
Financial or material abuse
This could include theft, fraud, exploitation, coercion in relation to the person’s financial affairs or arrangements, for example, getting someone to change their will.
For adults, neglect includes not being provided with enough food or with the right kind of food, or not being taken proper care of, being left without help to wash or change dirty or wet clothes, not getting to a doctor when needed or not making sure you have the right medicines.
This includes discrimination on grounds of race, gender, gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.
This includes neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting, for example, a hospital or care home, or care provided at home. This could be a one-off incident or on-going ill treatment and could be through neglect or poor professional practice.
Human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude, debt bondage or sexual exploitation.
Domestic Violence or Abuse
This includes assault, threats of violence, humiliation, intimidation and harming, frightening or punishing.
Lack of self-care, to the extent that this threatens the person’s health or safety, inability to avoid self-harm, or failure to seek help.