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Revision1Approved ByAnn Cunningham
Approved Date01/05/2024Review Date2025

References & Definitions

East Galway & Midlands Cancer Support: EGM
EGM-MA-01 Master List of Policies and Procedures
EGM-CO-06 Dignity & Respect at Work
The “Centre” is a word used to describe the premises from which East Galway & Midlands Cancer Support conducts its work
The word “employee” is inclusive of employees, volunteers, support workers and contractors who work for/in the Centre


This policy outlines the Trust in Care process in EGM which applies to all employee’s/volunteer’s.


Dignity, client safety and welfare are essential components of the quality of life for all people. East Galway & Midlands Cancer Centre (EGM) have a duty of care to protect clients and employee’s/volunteer’s from any form of behaviour which violates their dignity and to maintain the highest possible standards of care.

EGM employee’s/volunteer’s are highly motivated and caring individuals who are committed to providing the highest possible quality of care. EGM have a duty of care to provide employee’s/volunteer’s with the necessary supervision, support and training to enable them to deliver a high quality service and to protect them from situations which may leave them vulnerable to allegations of abuse or neglect.

Where allegations of abuse of clients are made against an employee/volunteer the welfare and safety of the client is of paramount importance. It is also acknowledged that employee’s/volunteer’s may be subjected to erroneous or vexatious allegations which can have a devastating effect on the person’s health, career and reputation. EGM are therefore committed to safeguarding the rights of the employee/volunteer against whom allegations of abuse are made to a fair and impartial investigation of the complaint.

EGM will discharge its corporate responsibility to protect the dignity and welfare of clients entrusted to its care and to support employee/volunteer with responsibility for them through the following measures:

• Ensure insofar as is reasonably practicable that sufficient resources are available to enable best practice standards of client care to be delivered.

• Provide safe systems of work to minimise the potential for abuse

• Provide information leaflets which set out how clients, relatives and members of the public can report concerns or complaints of abuse

• Rigorous application of recruitment and selection procedures to ensure that employee/volunteer possess the required skills and attributes

• Provide induction for all new employee’s/volunteer’s to ensure that they are aware of the standards of care expected from them.

• Provide effective supervision, support and training for all employee’s/volunteer’s so that they are aware of the standards of care expected from them and shortfalls in standards are dealt with promptly.

• Communicate the Trust in Care Policy to all employee’s/volunteer’s so that they are fully aware that the welfare of client is of paramount importance and know the action to be taken if abuse is suspected or alleged.

• Manage allegations of abuse against employee/volunteer promptly and with due regard for the rights of the employee/volunteer to fair procedures whilst safeguarding the welfare of clients.


The term ‘abuse’ can be subject to wide interpretation. For the purpose of this policy, abuse is considered to be any form of behaviour that violates the dignity of clients. Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, sexual, financial or psychological/emotional. It may constitute neglect and poor professional practice. It may take the form of isolated incidents of poor or unsatisfactory professional practice, at one end of the spectrum, through to pervasive ill treatment or gross misconduct at the other. Repeated instances of poor care may be an indication of more serious problems within the organisation for which the individual employee cannot be held accountable.

The HSE Trust in Care Policy (2005) describes four broad definitions of abuse which can be used to illustrate the type of behaviour which may constitute abuse: neglect, Emotional/Psychological Abuse, physical, sexual. EGM have added in further definitions of abuse (see below).


Neglect is defined in terms of an omission or the failure to act properly in safeguarding the health, safety, and wellbeing of the client.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

Emotional abuse may arise in the relationship between an employee/volunteer and a client. It is a consequence of the client’s needs for affection, approval, consistency and security not being met.

Examples of emotional abuse may include:

• persistent criticism, sarcasm, hostility or blame.

• unresponsiveness:

  • failure to show interest.

• use of unreasonable disciplinary measures or restraint

• disrespect for differences based on social class, gender, race, culture, disability, religion, sexual orientation or membership of the Traveller Community.

{These examples are not exhaustive}

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is any form of non-accidental injury that causes harm or could cause harm to a client. It may involve:

• hitting, slapping.

• the use of excessive force in delivering service.

{These examples are not exhaustive}

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse occurs when a client is used by an employee/volunteer for his/her gratification or sexual arousal.

Examples of sexual abuse include:

• intentional touching, fondling or molesting

• inappropriate and sexually explicit conversations or remarks

• exposure of the sexual organs or any sexual act intentionally performed in the presence of the client

• exposure to pornography or other sexually explicit and inappropriate material

• sexual assault

• sexual exploitation of a vulnerable adult, including any behaviours, gestures or expressions that may be interpreted as being seductive or sexually demeaning to a client

{These examples are not exhaustive}



EGM is committed to promoting the well-being of clients and providing a caring environment where they are treated with dignity and respect. EGM is also highly committed to their employee’s/volunteer’s and to providing them with the necessary supervision, support and training to enable them to provide the highest standards of care. The proper operation of human resource policies helps to ensure that employee/volunteer are aware of the standards of care expected from them and is protected from situations which may render them vulnerable to allegations of abuse.

Particular attention should be paid to the following:

• Recruitment and selection

• Induction

• Probation

• Employee/volunteer feedback, supervision and training

EGM ensures that the Trust in Care Policy is communicated to employee/volunteer when they commence employment and that they are made aware of their responsibilities to maintain a culture of vigilance and report any concerns or complaints of suspected abuse.

Recruitment & Selection

EGM follows a rigorous recruitment and selection process for all job applicants to ensure that they possess the required skills, attributes and competencies for the particular job. This involves the following:

• Preparing a job description which clearly sets out the caring responsibilities of the job and a person specification which sets out the caring attributes required to perform the job to the highest standards. The job description makes specific reference to the duty of all employees/volunteers to report concerns for the safety and welfare of clients.

• Using the interview process to establish if applicants have a caring disposition.

• Verifying qualifications and validating all relevant information and following-up on gaps or inconsistencies in employment history.

• Offers of employment are subject to receipt of satisfactory references which include a reference directly obtained from the applicant’s current or most recent employer.

• Offers of employment are subject to satisfactory Garda Vetting.

• Confirm the identity of the applicant by obtaining a driving licence or passport with the applicant’s details together with their signature and photograph.

  • Successful candidates should be required to sign a declaration form which obliges them to disclose any information which might have a bearing on their suitability for the position.  In the event that information comes to light which was not disclosed and affects their suitability, this could result in the termination of person’s employment.


All new employee’s/volunteer’s complete an induction process to ensure that they are clear about the standards of care expected from them and any protocols to be followed when interacting with clients. These standards and protocols should also be conveyed through a written Code of behaviour to ensure that employee/volunteer carry out their duties in a manner that is respectful of the dignity of clients.

EGM has developed its own Codes of behaviour for all employee’s/volunteer’s which reflect best practice in standards of client care.

Codes of behaviour offer protection not only to clients but also to employee’s/volunteer’s by providing a safe context within which to work and alerting them to situations which could render them vulnerable to allegations of abuse. Employee’s/volunteer’s be given appropriate guidance on maintaining best practice in relation to areas such as:

• Challenging behaviour

• Appropriate physical contact

• Boundaries of social interaction with client.

This Code of behaviour is updated in line with current best practice and be reinforced through on-going supervision, employee/volunteer feedback and training.


Following the induction process all employee’s/volunteer’s should be aware of their role and responsibilities and the standards of care expected from them. New Employee’s/volunteer’s are also required to undergo a probationary/assessment period of 3 months/6 months to establish their suitability for the job. The basis for assessing performance during this period should be explained by the manager to the employee/volunteer at the outset so that expectations regarding the purpose of the probationary period are common.

Managers are responsible for monitoring the employee’s/volunteer’s progress. During this period there should be regular review meetings to advise the employee/volunteer whether or not the required standards are being attained. Where any shortcomings exist, training and other appropriate assistance to enable employee/volunteer to reach the required standards should be provided. If the employee/volunteer does not demonstrate his/her suitability despite training and other support his/her employment will not be continued.

Employee Feedback Supervision & Training

Employee’s/volunteer’s who have satisfactorily completed their probationary period should continue to receive regular performance feedback, supervision and training to assist them in delivering high quality standards of care.

Managers have a duty to be vigilant and to ensure that the required standards of care are maintained. If an employee/volunteer breaches EGM rules or his/her work falls short of the required standards the manager Is responsible for addressing these shortfalls and, where appropriate, operating the progressive stages of the disciplinary procedure. Early intervention is key to ensuring that poor working practices do not develop and culminate in a more serious incident.

Communicating the Trust In Care Policy

Each employee/volunteer must read the Trust in Care Policy on commencement of employment. The Policy is re-enforced at Team meetings to ensure that employee’s/volunteer ‘s are aware of their obligations towards clients and know the action to take if abuse is suspected or alleged. Attendance at these team meetings for Trust in Care Policy briefings are mandatory.

Employee/volunteer are made aware of their role in promoting a culture of vigilance and are clearly informed that the safety and well-being of clients must take priority over all other considerations, including loyalty to work colleagues. Employee/volunteer should be assured that their concerns will be treated seriously, and they will be fully supported throughout the process, regardless of whether or not abuse is found to have occurred.

Employee/volunteer are given appropriate guidance on behaviours which indicate that a client may be at risk (e.g. they should be alert to anyone who is spending excessive time alone with clients or paying excessive attention to particular clients).

 Employee/volunteer receive guidance on dealing with complaints of abuse from clients e.g.:

• Encourage the client to give as much detail as possible but avoid asking “leading questions”, i.e. questions which suggest certain actions might have occurred or which name particular people who may have been involved. Allow the client as much time as possible.

• Do not press the client for details beyond that which s/he is willing to disclose.

• Do not promise to keep the information a secret.

Monitoring Awareness & Implementation of the Policy

 A form should be circulated to all managers at least once a year to remind them of their responsibility to ensure that all employee’s/volunteer’s are familiar with the Policy and relevant Codes of Conduct and copies of the Policy and Codes are readily accessible.