You only need to ask

If you want to get your adult protection plans right then involve us, says service user Adele Medhurst

Adult protection is everybody’s business, is it? Everybody’s except ours then. I’ve been involved with Voice UK (a
national charity for people with learning difficulties who have been abused or the victims of crime) for five years and I think it is encouraging how everyone thinks more about adult protection. And people understand more about abuse.

I can’t work out how, given all the ways we are supported to have our say through advocates and so on, we seem to be shut out of the adult protection loop all together. Someone I know well told me about something bad that had happened to him in a care home. It was taken seriously and the police were great.

Except my friend, whom they called “the subject of the strategy meeting” (funny that, I call him Dave), wasn’t invited to the strategy meeting. He didn’t even know there was one. And no one told him what was going on after everybody else had
decided who was going to do what. His parents were invited. Dave didn’t know they knew and was cross that they had been told. His mother was upset and worried. She had not been well and Dave thinks that the home should have asked him first. His parents were given a copy of the adult protection procedure. Dave wouldn’t have been able to read it and there isn’t a version that’s better for him to look at. Dave was given no information at all.

The member of staff who Dave said had hurt him was questioned by the police but they said they couldn’t charge him. All sorts of reports were written and people came and went. More meetings took place, none of which was held with Dave present. After a while Dave was told that the member of staff had resigned and gone to work somewhere else.

Dave asked why nothing had been done but no one could tell him. Dave felt that the staff were off with him, like it was his fault and that he had done a bad thing by telling.

I said that Dave should ask his care home to put some stuff together for all the people who live there about how to stay safe and what to do if they are worried about something.

But the manager said there was no need as the home was fine now.

I sent Dave a copy of Voice UK’s book, Stop! No More Abuse, and he showed it to his key worker. She said they should have sessions in the home about this and that everyone needs to feel safe in their own home.

Adult protection is our business too. We want to know when you talk about us. We want the chance to be there if we want to
be – not if you think it is “appropriate”. We want to know what you are going to do and we want to know when you’ve done it.
Not much to ask is it?

Adele Medhurst is a service user volunteer at Voice UK. She will be presenting “Service user involvement in developing adult protection strategy” at the conference, Protecting Adults from Abuse – Everybody’s Business.

Stop! No More Abuse
This book is aimed at helping people with learning difficulties recognise various forms of abuse, write members of Derby Independent Voice of Self- Advocacy.

Most people already know at least some of their rights and the pictures helped us remember them. We talked about what is written and drawn about abuse on page 6 (What is Abuse?) and felt it explained abuse well.

The booklet explains about other sorts of abuse so it helped us to realise that people are abused in all sorts of ways.

We thought sexual abuse was described very well and the pictures were clear and helpful. The page about financial abuse was also very clear and easy to understand.

The things that we had not really thought about before were emotional abuse, being treated differently and being neglected.
We talked a lot about  this type of abuse and the booklet helped a lot. We feel that it is very important that people learn about these things and how to get help. The booklet is clear about abuse not being your fault and that there are people who will listen to you and help you. We also thought that acetates ought to be provided to help people use the information on an overhead projector for group work. We were glad we had the information to look at and it helped us to talk about abuse and what to do about it.

Stop! No More Abuse is available from Voice UK. Tel: 01332 295775. Price £5

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