1. What is safeguarding?


Adult Safeguarding – what it is and why it matters

Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances.

Who might need safeguarding services?

Safeguarding duties apply to an 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.

These adults for example may be:

  • Frail due to age, ill health, physical disability or cognitive impairment, or a combination of these.
  • Have a learning disability
  • Have a physical disability and/or a sensory impairment
  • Have mental health needs including dementia or a personality disorder
  • Have a long-term illness/condition
  • Users of substances or alcohol
  • Be unable to demonstrate the capacity to make a decision and is in need of care and support.

This list is not exhaustive.

For those who do not meet the criteria as an adult at risk of harm but who nevertheless appear to be at high risk there are alternative sources of referral and support. Such as:
Your GP

B&NES Community Services 01225 396000

If an adult is in immediate danger dial 999 and ask for police assistance.

What are the different kinds of abuse?

There are many different kinds of abuse. They fall into the following broad categories. If you are worried that someone is at risk of harm or abuse please report your concern by calling 01225 396000.

Physical abuse – including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.

Domestic violence and abuse – (abuse and violence between people who are or have been intimate partners or family members) including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse and so-called ‘honour’ based violence.

Sexual abuse – 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 abuse – 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 relation 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. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

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 or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.

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 – this covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

How do I report a concern about domestic abuse?

If you are (or the person you are concerned about is) experiencing abuse from a family member or partner, please contact any of the following:

Find out more about domestic abuse…

What if someone is neglecting themselves?

If someone you know is not looking after themselves properly, this is a kind of self-abuse. They may be failing to wash themselves and/or their clothes. Perhaps they are not seeking medical attention or failing to look after their home.

If you are worried that someone might be neglecting themselves, please don’t hesitate to report your concern by calling B&NES Community Services on 01225 396000.

What will happen once I have reported my concern?

We work at all times to help people live independently at home. We will deal with your concern sensitively and quickly, respecting the rights of all concerned. We work with other agencies to support anyone who has suffered abuse and neglect.

I don't want anyone to know that I reported my concern

We will talk to you about all further action that we will take. We will take your wishes and feelings into consideration and maintain confidentiality unless this is impossible.

Where can I get help?

If someone is in immediate danger, please call 999.

If you are worried that someone living in Bath and North East Somerset might be at risk of neglect or abuse, please don’t hesitate to report your concern by calling B&NES Community Services on 01225 396000.

To report a concern about domestic abuse ot hate crime call Avon and Somerset Police on 101.

Find out more about how to report abuse

General information

An Easy Read booklet about the government’s position on safeguarding

If you want to know more about our policies, Local Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB), leaflets, posters and more please visit the LSAB page on this site.