General Public

What is Safeguarding?

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

The safeguarding duty under the Care Act 2014 applies to any adult who:

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the Local Authority is meeting any of those needs) and;
  • is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  • as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.

Who is at Risk?

Adult abuse can happen to anyone who is over 18. However adults may be at ‘greater risk’ of abuse and neglect:

  • If they have a physical, mental, sensory, learning or cognitive illness or disability
  • Linked to above; if they need assistance with everyday tasks
  • If they rely on others for some kind of social care or health support
  • If they are in receipt of care – purchased or funded through:
    • Personal budgets
    • Local Authorities and/or Health Services
    • By themselves
  • If they are informal carers, family and friends who provide care on an unpaid basis.

This list is not exhaustive.


Where does Abuse Occur?

Abuse can occur anywhere, examples include:

  • Care Homes
  • Day Centres
  • Hospitals/Health Services
  • In a Carers home
  • In your own home (including on-line)
  • Public Places
  • Supported Living arrangements
  • Work, College or University.

Who are the Perpetrators of Abuse?

Anyone can be an abuser, examples include:

  • Family members/relatives (including partners)
  • Friends
  • Neighbours
  • Other service users (including in Care Homes, Day Centres, Hospitals etc)
  • Professionals (including paid Carers)
  • Strangers
  • Unpaid Carers
  • Volunteers.

Why do People Abuse Adults?

Five personality types of perpetrators:

  1. Domineering or bullying perpetrators feel justified in abusing others. These people usually know where and when they can get away with abusive behaviour. Narcissistic (means inflated sense of own importance, and lack of empathy for others) people are motivated by anticipated personal gain and meeting their own needs, and do this by using other people and their assets. This could include inheriting an elderly person’s home, gaining access to benefits or stealing other valuables.
  2. Impaired perpetrators are well-intentioned caregivers who have problems that mean they are unable to adequately care for dependent adults. This includes advanced age and frailty, physical and mental illness, and developmental disabilities.
  3. Overwhelmed perpetrators are well intentioned caregivers in personality, intelligence, skills and motivation. However, when pressure mounts for them to provide more than they are capable of, they lash out verbally or physically and/or the quality of their care may degrade to the point of neglect. Risk factors include:
  4. Sadistic perpetrators derive feelings of power and importance by humiliating, terrifying and harming others. They take pleasure in their victims’ fear and don’t feel guilt, shame or remorse (sadistic means getting pleasure from inflicting pain, suffering or humiliation).

Dr. Holly Ramsey-Klawsnik (2000)


See it, report it!

if you suspect a neighbour, friend or family member is being neglected or abused, or you need help yourself: Report Abuse.

Consider risks to others – ‘Think Family’

Consideration should also be given as to whether anyone else is at risk as a result of an adult’s mental capacity. This may include children or other adults with care and support needs. Should there be a concern that a parent may be neglecting children in their care, concerns must be reported to Children’s’ Social Care: Local Safeguarding Children Boards


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