Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults in
John Burns, Partner
Rizwana Ishaq, Senior Associate
What we will cover
Part One: background and legislation
Part Two: facilitating working with
Part Three: case studies
What is a Vulnerable Adult?
• No Secrets Guidance :-
• A person who is aged 18 years or over;
• who is or 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 or herself, or unable
to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.
• Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 offers an alternative
• Vulnerable adults vs. vulnerable children
Are these adults vulnerable adults?
Richard Whitehead Baroness Tanni
Vulnerable Adults in Sport
• Vulnerable adults playing sports e.g. playing football
• Vulnerable adults officiating/coaching/working within
a sports organisation e.g. working in a football club
• Vulnerable adults who are spectators e.g. attending
a football club to watch a football match
• Safeguarding Adults Steering Group offers specific
Abuse of Vulnerable Adults
• What is abuse?
• "Abuse is a violation of an individual's human and civil rights by any other person or persons.” No Secrets
• Forms of abuse:
- Neglect/acts of omissions
• Who is the abuser?
• Who are the agencies involved in safeguarding vulnerable adults?
Key Legislation and Policies
• Human Rights Act 1998
• Data Protection Act 1998
• Care Standards Act 2000
• No Secrets: „Guidance on developing and implementing multi-agency policies and
procedures to protect vulnerable adults from abuse‟ 
• Sexual Offences Act 2003
• Mental Capacity Act 2005
• Safeguarding Adults Framework: „A National Framework of Standards for good
practice and outcomes in adult protection work‟ 
• Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006
• Equality Act 2010
• White Paper: „Caring for our future: reforming care and support‟ 
• The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
Part Two: facilitating working with
vulnerable adults in sport
Dealing with situations of harm or abuse appropriately
Overview of Part Two
• Practical measures sports organisations can implement to
integrate vulnerable adults into sport.
• Write a policy for safeguarding vulnerable adults.
• Create a reporting and referrals process.
• Identification of the vulnerable adult
• Communicate with the vulnerable adult from the outset
• Support and assistance
• Assessment of equipment and facilities
• Training of staff and membership
• Access to advice
• Awareness/culture of inclusion
• Procedures and safeguards
DBS Disclosures and Vetting
• Replaces the old CRB checks.
• Standard, Enhanced and Enhanced with list checks.
• Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 defines “Regulated Activity”:
• The individual is in contact with the person by:
providing healthcare e.g. health care professional;
providing personal care e.g. physical assistance, dressing etc;
providing social work;
assisting with general household matters;
assisting with the conduct of the person's own affairs; and
conveying any form of transport.
• Rarely a legal requirement for a sports organisation.
• Vulnerable adult plays in an inclusive
sports team (i.e. team containing no
• Setting up a sports team which is solely for
Producing a policy for safeguarding
1. Positive Approach
2. Policy Statement
3. Definition of vulnerable adult
4. Definition of different types of abuse and signs and
indicators of abuse
5. Outline roles and responsibilities of staff
6. Ensure reporting and referral procedure outlined step-
by-step and include complaints procedure
7. Provide useful contacts for support and further advice
8. Definition of capacity
Creating a Reporting and Referral Process
• Clear step-by-step guide of
responding, recording, reporting and referring.
• It is not the responsibility of those in the sports
organisation to interview or investigate, if they have
a concern this is always a role for the statutory
agencies such as police and social care.
• Importance of self determination/capacity.
Working Example – United Kingdom
• Updated policy in 2013
• Policy Statement:
“UKA…fully accept their legal and moral obligations to
provide a duty of care, to protect all adults at risk of
abuse and safeguard their welfare, irrespective of
age, disability, gender, ethnicity, gender identity, religion
or belief and sexual orientation.”
• Definitions – Vulnerable Adult, Abuse, Risk Factors
• Step-by-step procedure for alerting, reporting and
• Contacts for further support and guidance.
Case Study 1
Janet owns a swimming club. There are currently no swimmers in the
club who are vulnerable adults. Kate wants to join the adult‟s team.
Kate is currently living with her parents and has a carer due to her mild
learning disability. Janet is happy for Kate to join the team as she is
looking for new members and Kate is a very talented swimmer.
Jane, Janet‟s friend, also wants to assist with the coaching of the team
at the club and Janet is going to take her on as an employee.
Case Study 1 - Questions
• What practical considerations should Janet
take into account when Kate joins the team?
• What legal obligations is Janet under if she
Case Study 2
Town FC, a Premier League football club, are re-writing their club
policies. Town FC currently have a safeguarding children policy with a
page added on at the end for vulnerable adults. Their last policy was
updated 10 years ago and is currently being used by the club. Although
many of those working at the club are not aware that this policy exists.
Steve, who works at Town FC, also runs a team for adults with
disabilities (including vulnerable adults) which is part of the club. One
day he notices that Jim, one of the players, is being shouted at rather
abruptly by his carer and Jim appears intimidated.
Case Study 2 - Questions
1. What is Town FC doing wrong?
2. What advice would you give to Town FC
regarding the drafting of their new policy?
3. What should Steve do regarding Jim‟s carer?