National Safeguarding Adults Week - Domestic Abuse

Our second article for National Safeguarding Adults Week covers Domestic Abuse. It can happen to anyone, though Adults at Risk are more vulnerable. An Adult at Risk is a person aged 18 or over who is in need of care and support regardless of whether they are receiving them, and because of those needs are unable to protect themselves against abuse or neglect. It is possible that someone at your club or a team mate could be the victim of domestic abuse so it’s always a good idea to know more about the subject and what to look out for.

Domestic abuse can be:

  • Emotional – e.g. belittling someone, isolating them from friends and family, controlling where they go and who they talk to.
  • Threats and Intimidation – e.g. threatening to hurt/kill someone, harassing or following them.
  • Physical – e.g. hitting, shoving, throwing things at someone.
  • Sexual – e.g. pressuring someone into having sex, touches them in a way that they don’t want to be touched.
  • Financial – e.g. controlling someone’s use of money, not giving them enough money to survive.

People with disabilities are often in particularly vulnerable circumstances. Certain disabilities, particularly physical disabilities, may decrease someone’s ability to physically defend themselves and escape from abuse. Other disabilities can limit a person’s ability to understand and recognise potential signs of abuse.

A review by Public Health England in 2015 confirmed that people with disabilities are more vulnerable to domestic violence, experience domestic abuse for longer periods of time, and experience more severe and frequent abuse than non-disabled people.

Adults at Risk are more likely to experience abuse for longer periods of time because they have difficulties and concerns when accessing the support that they need. Their reliance on other people means that often they are reliant on their abuser for personal care or mobility. This sometimes means that they are reluctant to report the abuse because they are dependent on that person, they may also believe that the person enables them to stay out of institutional care.

If you feel that someone that you know or someone within your club is suffering from domestic abuse, regardless if they have a disability or not, there are a number of things that you can do and there’s plenty of information out there to help. The government has a very detailed website that provides step by step guidance on what you can do, and the Ann Craft Trust website also contains a number of links to websites that may also be of use. As a club, make sure all your members are aware of how they can contact a safeguarding officer, either as part of your club or in the local area, and encourage conversations about safeguarding topics where possible.

The adults at risk section of the Basketball England website, as well our adults at risk policy are also a good source of guidance and information. Full links are available below.