People who have been abused can seek support in a number of forms: Firstly, there is help for the person to address the issues in terms of stopping the abuse. This can be through legal interventions where a person is removed from the abusive situation after a court ruling or an institution closing if there is found to be widespread abuse. More commonly, it can be that an institution is found to be at fault in its staff training or in its practices, and they might then be given targets to improve their performance by the regulatory body. If the abuse is taking place in a family context, help can take the form of an agreement which is reached with family members where they receive the support or the breaks from caring that they need in order to care for or support their family member more appropriately. If the family members are abusing the individual maliciously and this has nothing to do with them needing support, then legal interventions can be sought to prosecute that family member. These resolutions all involve professionals whose job it is to support people in their right to live a life which is free from abuse. There are many advocacy organisations which can advocate for and with a person to help them say what they want in relation to any investigation and in subsequent plans. Secondly, there are services which help people deal with the psychological consequences of being abused. There are support services for adults who were abused as children as well as organisations who offer counselling to adults who have been subject to elder abuse or other forms of abuse against adults. There are also trained psychologists and other professionals who can offer support to help people find a way of coping with the emotions they have as a result of the abuse they have been subjected to. It should be a part of any plan which has involved an investigation to recommend appropriate support to the individual during and after the investigation.

Jackie Martin

De Montfort University
Author of Safeguarding Adults, published by Russell House Publishing (2006)

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