As a user of social care services for over 25 years. I have had my fair share of adult safeguarding issues, and my overall conclusion is that it is a system that is mostly useless and at times harmful to those it claims to protect.
The claimed mission statement of adult safeguarding is to protect ‘vulnerable’ adults from abuse in all its forms. The reality is it is a system to manage claims of abuse within social care services. And by manage, this often means ensuring they are swept under the carpet.
Unless the abuse has resulted in visual attributes that can not be ignored, like obvious bruising that can not be explained away, the reaction of safeguarding investigators is to do as little as possible since the last thing they want is an ‘overreaction’. Their role is to avoid the police as far as possible since that is just an annoying amount of paperwork.
I am also discovering since I am labelled an independent service user because I have direct payments and a voice, it is assumed I can not be abused because I am not vulnerable enough as I always know what I am doing.
The thing is with abuse is that I would suggest in terms of interdependent relationships, most abuse is psychological and subtle because it is about the control of relationships. Not putting the amount of sugar in someone’s tea they like when they are dependent on someone else to do this could be seen as abuse because it is an abuse of power. It is symbolic of a bigger issue that should be investigated. But when we live in a society where it is assumed that ‘carers know best’, this type of abuse is not just ignored but rewarded.
The language of abuse is designed the trivialise the matter and to avoid matters being seen as the crimes they are. Vulnerable adults are financially, physically and sexually abused while the rest of the population is stolen from, assaulted and raped. Abuse of vulnerable adults is investigated by social workers with little accountability while crimes are investigated by the police with a level of confidence something will be done.
The understanding of how adult safeguarding is systematically designed to fail vulnerable adults gives a wider insight into the passivity industry. When so many people profit from keeping people with impairments and others passive and excluded from mainstream society due to a socially constructed interdependency, it makes perfect sense that any rebellion from accepting their oppression is managed in the way it is.
Therefore, my advice for anyone who has been abused in any way is not to involve social services as they will try to dismiss it. It is better to involve the police or with the assistance of family, friends or advocates, try to safely confront your abuser directly. There are many techniques I have developed to keep me safe which is included in my Understand Assistance guide.
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