Vulnerable Adults Policy


Hand on Heart Arts Ltd is committed to ensuring the protection of vulnerable adults through the development and implementation of effective policies and best practice. Members of the Management Team, Staff and volunteers recognise and accept the responsibility to develop and raise awareness of the issues involved in working with vulnerable adults.


The broad definition of a vulnerable adult is a person:

Who is eighteen years of age or over, and who may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness, and who is or may be unable to take care of him/ herself, or unable to protect him/herself against significant harm or exploitation.’

(“Who Decides”:1997, Lord Chancellor’s department)


  • To provide an environment in which vulnerable adults feel safe and valued
  • To ensure that Management Team members, staff and volunteers take responsibility to protect vulnerable adults from harm at all times
  • To elect a member of the Management Team as the designated representative for all Vulnerable Adult matters, and to identify appropriate training opportunities for that member.
  • To develop and adopt a set of guidelines/code of conduct for working with vulnerable adults, which all members, staff and volunteers are aware of and adhere to
  • To exercise a Duty of Care and, when necessary, share information and/or concerns in a confidential manner with the appropriate outside agency e.g. Social Services.
  • To ensure that all staff and volunteers who work with, or have responsibility for, vulnerable adults are checked by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB).
  • To ensure recruitment of volunteers includes a minimum of two character references to support an application.
  • To develop a time specific induction period when all new staff and volunteers are introduced to guidelines for working with Vulnerable Adults and policy and procedures.
  • To ensure volunteers are supervised during a designated probationary period with ongoing regular supervision opportunities.
  • To review and update this policy and practice annually.


  • Abuse may be defined as the wrongful application of power by someone in a dominant position. It involves an imbalance of power and exploitation without a full and informed consent. Abuse can take several different forms and may be a single act or repeated acts.
  • Physical abuse – includes hitting, slapping, kicking, pushing, withholding or misuse of medication
  • Sexual abuse – includes sexual assault and rape, or sexual acts where the vulnerable person has not (or could not give) given consent or was forced into consenting.
  • Psychological abuse – includes threats of harm, emotional abuse, humiliation, verbal abuse, intimidation, coercion, harassment, withdrawal of support, isolation and deprivation (physical and sensory).
  • Material / financial abuse – includes fraud, theft, exploitation, financial transactions, misappropriation e.g. willed inheritance, property, benefits and possessions.
  • Neglect & Acts of Omission – includes ignoring physical care and medical needs, withholding basic living requirements e.g. adequate nutrition, safe and warm environment, withholding necessary medication and failure to provide access to appropriate health and social care services and / or educational services.
  • Discrimination – includes harassment and/or exclusion because of race, creed, culture, ability, gender and any slur deemed offensive and abusive.

 Code of Conduct

  • Staff and volunteers treat vulnerable adults with respect and sensitivity at all times.
  • Staff and volunteers must ensure that the safety and dignity of those vulnerable adults in their care is maintained at all times.
  • It is the duty of staff and volunteers to ensure that vulnerable adults in their care are aware that there are designated members of staff to help them with any worries and/or difficulties.
  • All staff and volunteers should be made aware of the Vulnerable Adults Policy, and the Duty of Care, during induction and of the procedure to follow for reporting possible / alleged cases of abuse or harm.

Sharing Information

  • If volunteers have concerns about the possible abuse of a vulnerable adult, or where a disclosure has been made, this must be reported to a member of staff as a Duty of Care responsibility.
  • An accurate written record of concerns, disclosures and any related incident(s) must be made by the volunteer using the appropriate incident form
  • The designated staff member will liaise with the relevant agencies and forward the record of concern for information. A copy should be kept on file to which designated staff members only have access.
  • It is important for staff and volunteers to avoid making assumptions and discussing concerns indiscriminately.
  • Confidentiality, and respect for the vulnerable adult(s) involved, is of the utmost importance.

Volunteer recruitment

  • Volunteers who wish to work with vulnerable adults are required to obtain a Criminal Records Bureau Enhanced Disclosure check.
  • As part of the recruitment process, volunteers will be required to complete an application form, supply two character references and attend for interview (Panel must consist of two or more people, which includes a member of the Management Team)
  • Volunteers will have a supervised probationary period of three months with regular supervision thereafter.

Induction & Training

  • Volunteers will complete an induction period that will include training in
  • Guidelines for working with Vulnerable Adults
  • Recognising different forms of abuse
  • Guidelines on the process for recording concerns / disclosures
  • Policies and procedures


This policy will be reviewed annually by the Management Team to ensure it remains fit for purpose.


This policy was adopted by Hand on Heart Arts Ltd.

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