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(The Care Guy)
20 commandments 18: rights
Posted on 7:12am Monday 6th Aug 2012
20 commandments 18: Thou shalt stand up for the rights of your client
The link between rights, mental health care and safeguarding isn’t always obvious but it is fundamental. Safeguarding is a way to protect people from abuse and abuse is always a violation of rights. To make sense of this we need to know a little bit about what rights are, where they come from and how they are achieved.
Simply put, rights are freedoms and liberties. Rights are liberties to do some things and freedoms from other things. For example we have the liberty to choose what to eat and we have the freedom from assault. If we are denied these liberties and freedoms the law will intervene to protect us.
Sometimes it seems confusing trying to balance other peoples’ rights with our duty of care but usually reasonable actions are OK. We might need to think a little about what reasonable means from time to tie and that’s why it’s often a good idea to take advice from others. Mainly though we need to know what rights are, what abuse means and what to do if we think that someone’s rights are being violated.
Safeguarding in health and social care is based upon the protection and defence of the rights of vulnerable adults. Any recipient of mental health services is by definition classed as a ‘vulnerable adult’ which means that we have a duty of care to uphold their rights. This is especially important since (like it or not) professions such as ours really do attract abusers who think that our service-users will make easy targets for abuse. That’s why one of the definitions of abuse under UK safeguarding legislation is ‘neglect’. It is a criminal offence to know or suspect that a vulnerable adult is being abused and not report it.
We must all be prepared to defend our service-users’ rights or risk being charged with abuse.
Based on the work of ‘Margreeth H.’