Safeguarding adults – Basic Information

What is ‘safeguarding adults’?

‘Safeguarding Adults’ means making sure that adults at risk live free from abuse and neglect. This used to be called ‘Adult Protection’. Everyone working in public services has a legal responsibility to report suspicions or allegations of abuse of adults at risk and children.

Who is an adult at risk?

An ‘adult at risk’ is someone who is 18 years or over who has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority or health services are meeting any of those needs).

As a result of their mental or other disability, age or illness, they may find it difficult to protect themselves from abuse. Children can also be at particular risk of abuse and neglect.

What is abuse?

There are many different types of abuse. The Care Act lists ten types of abuse:

  • Physical
  • Organisational
  • Sexual
  • Modern Slavery
  • Emotional/psychological
  • Discriminatory
  • Financial/material
  • Domestic abuse
  • Neglect/acts of omission
  • Self-neglect

Lots of different people may abuse adults at risk; some examples are:

  • People who deliberately target adults at risk
  • Members of the adult at risk’s own family and friends
  • People who are employed to care for adults at risk

Sometimes people are not actually aware that they are abusing someone. Carers of adults at risk may become abusive because they are stressed and tired. It is still important that you report these situations, as Social Services can help to reduce pressure on stressed carers. Carers can also be at risk of harm from the person they care for.

What are the signs of abuse?

There are many signs of abuse – ask if you are not sure! Some examples are:

  • The person looks dirty or is not dressed properly
  • The person never seems to have money
  • The person has an injury that is difficult to explain
  • The person seems frightened

There may be other explanations but these are often signs of abuse.

What should I do if I suspect abuse?

If there is a risk of immediate harm to the adult and/or others:

  • Take yourself out of danger
  • Call 999

If there is no immediate risk but you think abuse or neglect may be a problem:

  • Call the Islington Adult Social Care Access Service Tel: 020 7527 2299 or complete an online safeguarding concern form 

If you think another colleague or professional person is abusing an adult at risk:

  • Report this to your line manager.
  • If you are unhappy with their response or do not feel you can approach them then report this to us
  • You might feel worried about reporting your colleagues. Remember that it is difficult for adults at risk to report abuse and they rely on you to help them.
  • If you think a child is at risk, and it is an emergency, call 999
  • If you think a child is at risk, but it is not an emergency, contact Children’s Social Care: Are you worried about a child | ISCP (

Raising a safeguarding alert with Adult Social Services

The following is a list of the kinds of questions social services staff may ask when you raise an alert.

You do not need to have all this information to hand - we would rather you let us know immediately of safeguarding concerns. This is just to prepare you for the kinds of questions adult social care staff are likely to ask.

a. Safeguarding Concern

  • Your name and the name of your organisation
  • Your name and contact details (if you are happy to be contacted)
  • Name, contact and demographic details of the person you are calling about (if not already on the social services system)
  • Where, how and when you found out about the alleged/suspected abuse
  • Where the alleged abuse is said to have taken place
  • Whether the person is an Islington resident
  • Whether the person knows you are raising a safeguarding concern
  • Whether anyone else knows you are raising a safeguarding concern
  • Any actions you or your organisation have taken
  • Whether the adult is at risk of immediate harm
  • Whether there are any other people (children/other vulnerable adults) at risk
  • Whether the person has mental capacity to make his or her own safeguarding decisions

b. Suspected Abuse

  • When the suspected abuse took place
  • Details of the suspected abuse – what kind of abuse, how many times it happened and any further details
  • Whether the police have been informed
  • Suspected abuser (or person causing harm)
  • Contact details: name, address, gender, age
  • Relationship to the adult at risk
  • Whether the person causing harm lives with the adult at risk
  • Whether the person causing harm is the adult at risk’s carer

What happens next?

We will look into your concern. Depending on what we find, we may take action to safeguard the adult at risk from harm.