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Any abuse that takes place is wrong and has consequences for those involved; it can change the victim’s life and prevents them from being able to live as they wish. For example, someone who was very sociable and outgoing may not trust others or may stop socialising and become very lonely. All incidents of abuse reported have to be investigated.

Sometimes abuse leads to serious harm or even death. When this happens a serious case review is carried out by the Local Safeguarding Adults Board. This looks at what has happened to find out why, and what could have been done differently and how this can be prevented from happening again. A serious case review often leads to changes in the law, which in turn will lead to changes in ways of working, helping to keep vulnerable people safe.

Some of the factors featured in reports from serious case reviews are:

• Poor or a lack of communication between services including not sharing important information;
• Ineffective partnership working between services;
• Those receiving care and support or their families and friends not being involved in decisions made about their care;
• A failure to identify signs of abuse;
• Lack of management support or presence;
• Limited learning and development opportunities for workers and the poor staff recruitment processes.

It may be necessary for you to find more information and there are many different sources that you can refer to. Examples of some of the external sources of advice and information include:

Professional bodies or Trade Unions – for example, the Royal College of Nursing, British Association of Occupational Therapy, Chartered Society of Physiotherapy. Some of these are only available to members.

Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) - this organisation aims to improve care by researching and analysing care practice to find out and share which strategies work best.

The Adult Services Department of your local authority will be able to provide advice and support on safeguarding and protecting vulnerable individuals;

Care Quality Commission (CQC): the independent regulator CQC gives guidance on the government’s policies

Carers Direct Helpline 0300 123 1053: offers all-week telephone support and advice to carers with regards to their own support and safeguarding and protection of the individuals they care for

The internet can be a useful source of information. Be sure to use reputable websites and check the information you find.