I couldn’t quite believe what I saw. I turned to the person next to me. Did you see that?
Did you see it? I can’t believe it!
My heart was in my mouth if I am honest. I felt sick. I knew my voice was slightly shaking and I needed to get a handle on it.
Maybe I should leave it. I mean other people saw too. I was not even officially in work, it was the weekend.
I will be honest. It was the first time I had dealt with a safeguarding incident. I remember the training. It was there in my head. I remember the man saying it was not my call to decide if it was or wasn’t, but it was important to report it. I still wasn’t quite sure, or was I just scared a little? I thumbed through the training notes and policy.
Not how it is in the textbook
I am not sure why looking back, I didn’t want to get something wrong. I hesitated. It wasn’t clear cut. Did it happen like that? It wasn’t textbook, but it made me feel really uncomfortable.
I found the page in my manual – the diagram and the number, and I phoned.
I felt relief.
Stones in my stomach
This happened a long time ago now. Some things have changed. You don’t need my details to know how you felt the first time you witnessed something you needed to report. Or maybe subsequently. For me, the first time felt as though the weight of it all was in my chest like there were stones in my stomach. I felt by reporting it I was making decisions about people’s lives by simply witnessing, and raising a concern.
I don’t think you can ‘train that out’. We are human – we feel things, but to feel it and make a decision to do what is right is what is important.
It has got easier in some ways; I am clearer in what to do. I know I get nervous. But I do what is right. There is rarely hesitation, but I always find it hard.
Knowing the right path
For me, there are some key things. To support me. To keep me on the right track;
- Have someone to speak to not just when things happen, but anytime.
- Know where the forms are (and there will be some)… and a pen near
- Crystal clear information – a simple flow chart where I can see it, where it gets into my vision like second nature.
- A good training base – that would help me at the moment of the incident.
- The managers to hand it on to. To be there, or to be contactable.
Sources of information
There are good sources of information which can help us understand our role and the role of others;
Standard 10 of the Care Certificate : Skills for Care
What is Elder Abuse? : Age UK
Statement on CQCs roles and responsibilities for safeguarding Children and Adults : Safeguarding Policy and procedure – QCS systems
Will it get easier?
I don’t think it will ever be easy. Not for me at any rate. We feel, we are human, we need support… but by knowing our responsibilities, and having the confidence to take action – we will ensure abuse does not go unreported, and inevitably we will help safeguard those who need our help.