Keeping Adults Safe

Safeguarding means protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.

The aim of adult safeguarding is to:

Work with the adult experiencing abuse/neglect to find out what they want, and how this can be best achieved.

The adult’s values and wishes must be respected and where possible followed, regardless of whether professionals believe the adult’s decisions to be unwise. Mental capacity must be weighed up against the risk to the adult.

Adult safeguarding is the action taken by individuals and organisations to prevent or stop abuse and neglect of adults with care or support needs.

Abuse is…

intentional mistreatment of another person, causing them harm. It usually happens more than once by someone known to the adult, or who provides a service to the them such as home care, residential care, healthcare.

Neglect is…

a form of abuse. It is the ongoing failure to meet the needs of a person you care for. This could be leaving the adult without medication, food, social activities, adequate supervision and support, access to healthcare, support to keep clean.

There are many types of abuse and each has its own defining characteristics and signs, but all result in harm.

In some cases abuse happens without the abuser or the adult knowing that the behaviour is considered abusive so raising awareness is important to everyone.

Visit the Types of Abuse section section of the website for more.

Who’s at risk of abuse or neglect?

Adult Safeguarding applies to adults with care and support needs who are experiencing or at risk of abuse and neglect, and are unable to protect themselves from the abuse or neglect.

The following factors can cause Care and Support needs:

  • Physical, Learning or Sensory disabilities
  • People with long term health conditions
  • Mental illness
  • Drug or Alcohol addiction
  • Communication difficulties
  • Isolation
  • Acquired brain injury

Who abuses or neglects adults?

Anyone can perpetrate abuse or neglect.

Sometimes it is a stranger, but it is far more likely that a person responsible for abuse is known to the adult and is in a position of trust and power, such as family members, friends, neighbours or professionals such as carers.

Abuse can happen anywhere, including in a person’s own home, care home, hospital, workplace, in the community or college.

Who is responsible for adult safeguarding?

The lead agency for safeguarding adults is the council, however, they will also speak to other agencies that are known to the adult to get the full picture.

If you have concerns about a relative, friend, neighbour or yourself call 01375 511 000 or email

Organisations such as the police, healthcare providers, social services and local charities often have access to personal and private lives of people which might otherwise be hidden. This access means that safeguarding is a vital part of these services’ roles.

Worried about an adult? 01375 511000

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