In the U.K, the Government has introduced a “No Secrets” guidance to protect the vulnerable from abuse. Under this programme, local authorities including health and social care professionals work with the police and criminal justice agencies to reduce the risk of abuse and step in promptly when abuses occur.
Singapore should introduce a similar programme to safeguard the interests of those who are vulnerable. It can be a troubled student, as in this case, or an elderly resident who may be abused in a nursing home.
First, under this “No Secrets” guidance programme, service users should be encouraged to identify what they would like to see happen, if at any point while making use of a service, they are at risks of being abused.
Second, service users should not be isolated and at higher risk of abuse.
Third, social care professionals must act upon abuse and report it as a crime and not simply write it off as an internal incident.
Advocacy plays an important role in protecting the vulnerable from abuse. Family members or the victims of abuse themselves should be able to report any incident and be assured that it will be handled professionally.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO