Coronavirus – Safeguarding Adults
Information and Updates
During the current Coronavirus outbreak we still need to help keep adults at risk safe from abuse and neglect and share up to date information with the public and professionals. The threat the country is facing from COVID-19 is evolving by the day and is placing the residents of Brighton and Hove in a position of real vulnerability. We are seeing many examples of positive action from communities, with offers of help and support from networks of volunteers and agencies across the public and private sectors.
At the same time a picture is emerging of a number of safeguarding issues and areas of exploitation that are a direct result of the pandemic. A significant concern of the Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Adults Board (BHSAB) and the Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Children Partnership (BHSCP) is that much of this abuse may be hidden, particularly with people living in isolation, perhaps with perpetrators of abuse, and with the additional current issue that professionals are not able to visit clients as frequently.
We ask everyone – the public, volunteers and professionals from all sectors – to be particularly vigilant in identifying and reporting any concerns if you feel that an adult or child is at risk or is experiencing abuse or neglect. If you have a safeguarding concern about an adult, please contact Health and Adult Social Care If you have concerns about a child, please contact Families, Children and Learning.
The B&HSAB and BHSCP would like to thank all our partner agencies for their hard and dedicated work in the current challenging circumstances. There is also a message on our website from Graham Bartlett, the Independent Chair of the Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Adults Board.
Issues of exploitation to be aware of:
Protect yourself from Coronavirus fraud
National Trading Standards and Friends Against Scams are warning people to remain vigilant following a rise in coronavirus-related scams that seek to benefit from the public’s concern and uncertainty over COVID-19.
To protect yourself and your family please protect yourself and don’t let fraudsters try to lure you in with offers that look too good to be true. The advice is simple, think very carefully before you hand over your money, and don’t give out your personal details unless you are sure who you are dealing with. Communities are also being urged to look out for signs of neighbours being targeted by doorstep criminals.
Coronavirus and Domestic Abuse
Whilst the Coronavirus situation is a worrying time for us all, this is particularly the case for adults and children living with domestic violence, in terms of escalating risks of abuse and serious harm and the feeling that they are trapped. The guidance below is designed to help in providing advice and support to keep safe as well as phone lines you can call if you are worried. Don’t forget though that, if you or someone you live with has been, or you think might be, harmed call the police on 101 or, in an emergency 999.
It is also important to consider unpaid carers in the context of domestic violence and abuse, in terms of the potential additional tensions that may arise in caring situations. Whilst it might not be possible to access respite, it is vital that carers and cared-for alike – where they can – use other means such as telephone calls, Facetime etc to connect with others. You are not alone and the services that are here to help are still here, even if the way they provide that support may be different from normal. Carers UK have information and guidance specifically developed for carers in response to queries about coronavirus, which is available on their website.
It is important to know that you are not alone. Even if you are unable to leave your home at the moment, you can still access support in a number of ways:
• Information about support for those experiencing domestic and sexual violence from Safe in the City
• Safelives have produced a guide for staying safe during COVID-19 for victims and survivors.
• Surviving Economic Abuse have produced guidance on economic abuse while self-isolating, as well as practical issues including benefits and sick pay.
• The Government has published COVID-19 guidance for domestic abuse safe accommodation provision.
Social Distancing and Isolation for Older People
As Coronavirus spreads across the UK it will be harder for older people to maintain social connections. Useful advice has been provided by the Campaign to End Loneliness.
Information for the public and professionals:
Brighton and Hove City Council Coronavirus Support
As the situation with COVID-19 develops, Brighton and Hove City Council is working with partners in the NHS, Public Health England and other services to keep vital services running and providing the support everyone needs, especially to the most vulnerable. In response to this unprecedented situation, and in line with Government guidance, safeguarding and protecting the most vulnerable adults in our community remains a priority.
The website page will be kept updated with the latest links and advice for residents and businesses in the county.
Information from the Council for supporting your wellbeing can be found here
The NHS have produced a range of advice, including symptoms, what to do if you think you have Coronavirus, and self-isolation.
It’s particularly important to take care of your mental health whilst self-isolating. For tips on how to keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel while staying at home, visit Every Mind Matters.
The Coronavirus page on the GOV.UK website has provides guidance on a range of issues, including advice for those working in healthcare settings, residential care homes, supported living and home care settings.
GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service WhatsApp
This new free service aims to provide official, trustworthy and timely information advice about Coronavirus, and will further reduce the burden on NHS Services. To use the free service, simply add 07860 064 422 into your phone contacts and message the word ‘hi’ in a WhatsApp message to get started.
COVID Symptom Tracker
An app has been developed by Guys and St Thomas’ and Kings College NHS Trusts to help the spread of COVID-19. Please download the COVID Symptom Tracker app to support this valuable research.
Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE)
SCIE are regularly updating their COVID-19 Hub to provide advice to local authorities and care providers.
How to help your neighbours
Looking for a way to help people in your local community right now?
The British Red Cross says that little acts of kindness are important, now more than ever, and really do go a long way in times of crisis.
• Keep in touch regularly with family, friends and neighbours – a quick chat on the phone or a message on social media will raise their spirits and yours.
• If you can, be the eyes and ears of your community (but keep that social distance!) by checking on people who may be vulnerable or isolated and finding out what they might need – can you pick up shopping or medicines safely and leave them where they can access them?
• No one needs trolley loads of toilet roll! Only buy what you need so that there is enough for everyone, especially for those who can’t afford to buy ahead.
• Do look after yourself – eating, sleeping and exercising safely (even indoors) will help keep you well and more able to support others.
Coronavirus Act 2020
The Coronavirus Act received royal assent on 25 March 2020. The proposals set out in the Act will significantly enhance the ability of public bodies across the UK to provide an effective response to tackle this epidemic by introducing temporary legislation and regulatory easing.
The legislation will be time-limited – for 2 years – and not all of the measures will come into force immediately.
The easing includes:
• NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) Assessments
Provision to allow NHS Providers to delay undertaking the assessment process for NHS CHC assessments until after the coronavirus outbreak has ended.
• Temporary amendments to the Mental Health Act 1983
Allowing a single approved practitioner or a single medical practitioner to undertake certain functions and extension of time limits relating to detention and transfer of patients.
• NHS and Local Authority (LA) care and support
Covers three provisions during the Coronavirus pandemic:
(1) Provision that a LA may lawfully prioritise who and what type of needs it will meet, rather than being required to meet all eligible assessed needs as specified under the Care Act 2014.
(2) Provision that LA’s may lawfully determine whether and the extent to which it will carry out assessments in individual’s needs and review care plans, or carry out financial assessments, rather than being required to carry these out in all cases as is currently set out in the Care Act.
(3) Provision for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to direct LA’s in relation to the prioritisation of services to meet care and support needs in accordance with guidance issued by the Department of Health and Social Care.
The deaf health charity Sign Health have created a series of signed videos explaining what COVID-19 is and what help and advice is available.
Safeguarding adults through the Coronavirus epidemic: What do volunteers need to know to keep themselves and others safe
With the Coronavirus outbreak community groups and volunteers are increasingly crucial in supporting adults at risk. With that in mind, you are volunteering with your local community, or you are hiring volunteers, it is important that you safeguard yourself and others from harm and abuse.
The Ann Craft Trust has published information to help.
The Government has produced a factsheet designed to address specific concerns that people involved in supporting their community may have at this time.
Health Education England have made available free training resources on COVID-19 that will be useful to staff and volunteers.
Health Education England also offer a free online safeguarding adults training.