Every adult has a right to respect dignity, privacy, equity and a life free from abuse. That is the firmly held belief of all those who work here at Students’ Health Service, and we see our role partly as being here to protect ‘vulnerable adults’. Many of us hear that phrase and think of adults with learning disabilities, say, but it also encompasses any adult who, because of mental ill health, emotional disturbance, physical disability, cultural or social isolation, may lack the resources to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation. So it can, unfortunately, describe some of the students we look after, and even someone you might know, though you may not have considered them ‘vulnerable’ before.
If you are worried about someone, that they may be being abused or exploited, or if you are worried about yourself, then we are here to help you. The whole team receives training in supporting adults with safeguarding issues, and we can engage other services to help us if we need to. Examples of abuse include physical violence in a relationship, sexual abuse, including where someone is pressurised to consent, not just where consent was withheld, psychological abuse through intimidation or hostility, and financial abuse such as theft, and misuse of benefits. We are also aware of occasional cases of racial and discriminatory abuse, and are able to offer support in these situations too.
Abusers can be someone the vulnerable adult knows well, or a person in a position of authority above them. Whatever the situation we can ensure confidentiality and sharing of information on a need to know basis, and we will not disclose personal information inappropriately.
If you suspect abuse, please report it. If you would like our support then please talk to any one of our clinical team, and we will ensure you are cared for with the respect and dignity that everyone deserves.
Honour based violence; http://www.karmanirvana.org.uk/