Safeguarding adults - everyone’s responsibility

Dawne Garrett explains the background to new guidance from the RCN aimed at staff who do not have specialist knowledge  

The Care Act 2014 in England, continuing media exposure of poor practice and a resolution at RCN congress provide the backdrop for the publication of RCN safeguarding guidance for nurses.

Aimed at staff who do not have specialist knowledge in safeguarding, the guidance provides principles and definitions, describes what actions or omissions constitute abuse and sets out nursing roles and responsibilities in reporting abuse. It takes a four country perspective and highlights relevant legislation in different parts of the UK.

The guidance does not replace local policies and procedures, but explains the need for staff to access and follow the processes laid down by their organisations. The guidance recognises that all adults may have safeguarding needs at times and that the assumption that particular groups such as older people are homogeneously ‘vulnerable’ is inappropriate.

Adults might experience sexual, psychological, physical or financial abuse at any time throughout


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