What is Adult Safeguarding and who is at risk?

What is Adult Safeguarding and who is at risk?

If you work in general practice, click here to see what you need to know about safeguarding and information sharing.

Everyone finds themselves in situations when they need help from others at some point in their life. When you get help from another person, you place your trust in them. You hope that they won’t take advantage or harm you.

Some people don’t recognise when they’re a victim of abuse or neglect. They don’t see the harm caused by a particular relationship, or don’t know how to escape their situation. The person may be someone who finds it difficult to protect themselves and needs care and support because of a physical or learning disability, their mental health, age or illness.

Adult safeguarding is all about identifying adults at risk of harm and working to improve their quality of life. So, if you come across a situation where you think a person is a victim of abuse or neglect make sure you report it.

What is abuse and what can you do to help protect a person at risk?

Protecting vulnerable adults from harm is everybody’s business. As you go about your day-to-day business, remember that abuse or neglect can happen to anyone, anywhere. Abuse might take place over a long time, or be confined to just a single incident. The abuser could be member of staff at a care home or a hospital, a carer or friend at a day centre, or relative in the family home. They might not even realise their behaviour is causing harm to another person.

Regardless of the situation and persons involved – you must act if you suspect harm is being caused to a person at risk.

Abuse can be…

  • Physical – including assault, hitting, pushing, slapping, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions
  • Domestic - including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse and so called ‘honour’ based violence
  • Sexual –  including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting
  • Psychological – including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks
  • Financial  or material abuse – including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relations to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits
  • Modern Slavery – encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude
  • Discriminatory abuse – including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment; because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion
  • Organisational abuse – including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital, care home, or in relation to care provided in person’s home. May range from one off incidents to on-going ill treatment.
  • Neglect and acts of omission - including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating 
  • Self-neglect – a wide range of behaviour neglecting care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding
  • Female Genital Mutilation (child risks and adult at risk)

How can you help if you suspect abuse is taking place?

We need staff to be our eyes and ears and to report any concerns about a person’s welfare.

To make sure you can take action if you suspect abuse is taking place:

  • Know how to report abuse or raise a safeguarding alert.
  • Know who the contact is to discuss any safeguarding concern you have.
  • Take part in adult safeguarding training courses available.

Safeguarding adults from abuse - an inter-agency procedure

This procedure produced by the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board (HSAB) is used by public agencies and by private and voluntary services in Hertfordshire to protect adults at risk of abuse. 
Similar to child protection it continues to be vital that all agencies have clear procedures to enable them to work together to safeguard adults from abuse.

The latest version of this procedure can be found on the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board (HSAB) website.

What is Hertfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board?

The Hertfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board is a group of organisations in the county that work together to make sure adults at risk can live in an environment free from abuse, harassment, violence or aggression.

The Board is made up of representatives from each of these voluntary and statutory member agencies, such as the Police, health services and the county council.

Members of the Board work with their partners to ensure that Hertfordshire is a safe place for all adults at risk of abuse to live and work by putting in place straightforward ways to report suspicions and robust investigation procedures.

More information is available on the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board website wehere you can also download the Hertfordshire multi-agency policy and procedure.

For more information about adult safeguarding in East and North Herts CCG please contact Tracey Cooper.

Web apps

The Hertfordshire Safeguarding Adults Board (HSAB) have two apps which are designed to be a prompt for professionals across Hertfordshire.

Both apps provide step by step guidance on what to consider when completing a safeguarding adult concern or when undertaking a mental capacity assessment.  

You can access the Apps from the links or from the HSAB website: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/adult-social-services/report-a-concern-about-an-adult/hertfordshire-safeguarding-adults-board/hertfordshire-safeguarding-adults-board.aspx 

Learning Disability Mortality Review (LeDeR) Programme

The Learning Disabilities Mortality Review programme, also known as LeDeR, is the first national programme of its kind aimed at making improvements to the lives of people with learning disabilities. It was set up to drive improvement in the quality of health and social care service delivery for people with learning disabilities. It does this by looking at why people with learning disabilities typically die much earlier than average. 

The Hertfordshire Integrated Health and Care Commissioning team have put together a new website for the LeDeR Programme.  This provides information for professionals, carers and people with a learning disability and includes quarterly newsletters, conference presentations, reports and general information.

Last modified: 

14 Jan 2021