Protection of Vulnerable Adults Policy

A vulnerable adult is someone aged 18 years or over who is in receipt of or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

While it is not possible to prevent all abuse, there are a number of steps SCA volunteers can take to reduce the risk of abuse occurring.

You should:

  • Know what abuse is
  • Know how it can happen
  • Be alert to indicators or potential abuse situations
  • Know the procedures for reporting concerns and poor practice

In Cambridgeshire eleven categories of abuse are recognised by Social Care professionals.

Physical abuse i.e. hitting, punching, slapping, forced feeding, shaking, misuse of medication or restraint.

Psychological abuse i.e. shouting, harassment, humiliation, intimidation, coercion, threats of harm.

Financial / Material abuse i.e. fraud, exploitation, theft, misappropriation of property or benefits.

Sexual abuse i.e. rape inappropriate touching, indecent exposure, sexual assault, pressure to consent.

Institutional abuse i.e. collective failure to provide an appropriate & professional service to vulnerable adults.

Neglect or Acts of omission i.e. ignoring medical or physical care needs, withholding medication, adequate nutrition or heating.

Discriminatory abuse i.e. racism, sexism, ageism, based on a persona disability and other form of harassment or slurs.

Domestic Violence i.e. Generic term to describe a range of behaviours often used by one person to control or dominate another with whom they have a close relationship.

Stranger abuse i.e. Abuse of a vulnerable adult by someone unknown to them, for example, distraction burglary.

Poor professional practice i.e. isolated incidents or unsatisfactory profession practice at one end of the spectrum through to pervasive ill treatment or gross misconduct at the other.

Harm i.e. ill treatment, impairment of, or avoidable deterioration in physical or mental health.

Responding to disclosures

  • Remain calm
  • Listen carefully
  • Reassure the person that you are treating their information seriously
  • Explain you are required to share the information with SCA Staff
  • Reassure the person
  • Do not promise to keep the disclosure a secret
  • Do not be judgemental
  • Do not stop someone from freely recalling significant events
  • Do not discuss the disclosure with others outside the investigation
  • Report the information immediately
  • Do not interrogate the person
  • Make written record of what the person told you


Make a written record of what the person actually said, using his or her own words and phrases, whenever possible.

Please include:

  • What was said
  • How it was said
  • Who was mentioned
  • What you said
  • Where & when did the disclosure take place
  • Where & when did the incident take place


  • It should be a factual account—distinguish fact from opinion
  • Sign and write the time, date and location on the report.


Out of hours emergency telephone number: 07749 738 870

10 Pembroke Street
Cambridge, CB2 3QY
01223 350365