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Safeguarding Policy Statement and Guidance

It is the policy of the Onyx London Clinic to make every effort to safeguard children and vulnerable adults from physical, sexual and emotional harm while on our premises. The practice takes all reasonable steps to ensure that, through relevant procedures and training, children, young people and adults using our services receive safe, high quality care.

This practice adopts a zero-tolerance approach to abuse and will:

  • Protect children and vulnerable adults, in our care, from abuse and improper treatment (as defined in the Appendix).
  • Provide a course of action if abuse is suspected.
  • Ensure that patient’s informed consent for procedures is gained.

As health professionals, we have a duty to share information if by doing so someone is kept safe. (Statutory Guidance can be found in “Working Together 2015”).

If you have any concerns about the safety of a child or you want more information  please speak to one of our practice team or contact the local safeguarding team by following this link

If you have any concerns about the safety of an adult or you want more information.

please speak to one of our practice team or contact the local safeguarding team by following this link

Abuse can be done in many forms. Please read the appendix for different categories of Abuse.


Categories of Abuse

Physical Abuse (including inappropriate restraint or use of medication)

This may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm e.g. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). It may be caused by a parent or carer fabricating the symptoms of, or deliberately causing, illness in the victim. Orofacial trauma occurs in at least 50% of children diagnosed (BDA Safeguarding patients) with physical abuse – and a victim with one injury may have further injuries that are not visible.

Sexual Abuse

This involves forcing or enticing the victim to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the victim is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (for example rape, buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually  inappropriate ways.

Psychological Abuse (also known as Emotional abuse and Mental abuse.)

This is a form of mistreatment in which there is intent to cause mental or emotional pain or injury. This is usually persistent and can cause adverse effects to emotional development of its victims. Methods used include verbal aggression, statements intended to humiliate or infantilise, insults, threats of abandonment or institutionalisation. The results of this abuse results in stress, social withdrawal, long-term or recalcitrant depression and anxiety. It may be noticeable when a patient’s chaperone shows inappropriate expectations being imposed on the patient, interactions beyond the patient’s developmental capacity; overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning; preventing the patient participating in normal social interactions; seeing or hearing the ill-treatment or another; causing the victim to feel frequently frightened or in danger; exploitation and corruption of the victim.

Financial or Material Abuse

Financial or material abuse involves the use of a vulnerable adult’s property, assets or income without their informed consent or making financial transactions that they do not understand to the advantage of another person.

Some examples are theft, fraud, exploitation, and pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Neglect and Acts of Omission

Neglect is behaviour that results in the basic needs not being met. Example are, ignoring medical or physical care needs; person’s physical condition/appearance is poor e.g., ulcers, pressure ulcers, soiled or wet clothing; failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services; withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating; undermining personal beliefs.

Discriminatory Abuse

Discriminatory abuse is behaviour that makes or sees a distinction between people as a basis for prejudice or unfair treatment. This includes racism; sexism; religious and ageism; based on a person’s disability; slurs or similar treatment.

Domestic Abuse and Violence

Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional between adults, aged 18 and over, who are or have been intimate partners or are family members regardless of gender and sexuality. (Family members are defined as Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Brother, Sister, Grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family). Source ACPO 2004.

Professional Abuse

This is the misuse of power and abuse of trust by professionals, the failure of professionals to act on suspected abuse/crimes, poor care practice or neglect in services, resource shortfalls or service pressures that lead to service failure and culpability as a result of poor management systems/structures.

Institutional Abuse

Institutional abuse involves the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to vulnerable people. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour that amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and stereotyping. It includes a failure to ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to protect vulnerable adults and maintain good standards of care in accordance with individual needs, including training of staff, supervision and management, record keeping, unable or unwilling to implement professional or clinical guidelines and liaising with other providers of care.

Abusive behaviour may be part of the accepted custom and culture within an organisation or an individual member of staff, or particular group of staff may carry it out. The key risk factors for institutional abuse are:

  • It is widespread within the setting;
  • It is repeated;
  • It is generally accepted, it is not seen as being poor practice;
  • It is sanctioned, it is encouraged or condoned by line managers;
  • It takes place in a setting where there is poor monitoring by senior management;
  • There are environmental factors (e.g. unsuitable buildings, lack of equipment, many temporary staff) that adversely affect the quality of care;
  • It is systematic e.g. factors such as a lack of training, poor operational procedures, poor supervision and management all encourages the development of institutionally abusive practice.