adults safeguarding training

Legal basis for the safeguarding of vulnerable adults

Safeguarding adults

Safeguarding of vulnerable adults must have a concise legal basis on some of the live issues in modern day Safeguarding.  Anybody involved in safeguarding vulnerable adult will have a better idea as to the imminent legal changes to Safeguarding processes.

The Care Act 2014 is made, Safeguarding is no more a  policy based but enshrined in decree.  The definitions of ‘vulnerable adult’ and ‘significant harm’ set out in ‘No Secrets’ have been removed and we will set out how Care Act 2014 widens the scope for whom Safeguarding applies, with direct implications for those suffering from mental health problems.  A large number of those with mental health problems who are in need of care also self- neglect and so we will briefly look at how Safeguarding practices will now apply to this group.


Safeguarding leads will be made aware of the core principles that the Care Act will bring including the legislative power to pass on some but not all of the Local Authority’s safeguarding duties. How will this impact the care of adults with mental health problems?  How will safeguarding investigations take place and more importantly, how will the safeguarding responsibility be shared?  ‘Wellbeing’ is now a legal principle, how will this effect a safeguarding plan for those with mental health problems?  Safeguarding Adult Boards are now on a statutory footing, what powers do they now have?


An update to capacity issues and best interests’ assessments will be given with highlights of recent case law including the UF case. The Courts are leading the way on balancing asserted positive risk taking against the facts.


Restrictive Practices – The implementation of practices that limit an individual’s action and freedom to act independently without consequence.  How should adults be safeguarded from restrictive practices?  What constitutes unlawful restriction? We will aim to briefly set out what is considered best practice.


In a single year, one National Health Service Trust reported 38 incidents while another reported over 3,000 incidents.  Is this evidence of endemic organisational abuse?  What are the forms of control and restraint?  When is it appropriate to use and when is it not?  What are the civil and criminal repercussions of illegal control and restraint?


We shall look at the professional and legal duty to keep correct safeguarding documentation.  Practitioners, advocates and those that have been delegated investigative powers will be required to produce reports.

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Take the Right Steps to Help Keep Adults Safe

Safeguarding adults training in the UKTaking the right steps in safeguarding adults is about protecting those at risk of harm. It involves identifying abuse and making a move whenever someone is being harmed. The Department of Health defines a helpless adult as a person aged 18 years or over who is or may be require of community care services cause by mental or other disability, age or illness, and who is or not capable to take care of him or herself, or incapable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

Taking the right steps to help keep adults safe is the responsibility of everyone, as well as all health workers. Anybody can move up a safeguarding concern. All allegations of abuse need to be taken seriously whether made by a healthcare worker, patient, carer, or other service provider. Any concerns reported to a healthcare worker should be followed up by inquiries about the nature and circumstances of the allegation. It is very important to ask about the safety of the person when the allegation is raised and any support the person is already receiving.


Adults abuse can occur in a variety of environments, including their homes, hospitals, assisted living arrangements and nursing homes.

Because of issues about identification, stigma, and institutional systems, concerns about allegations of abuse are known to be under-reported. Only a small proportion of adult abuse is currently detected.

People with health needs make up a large proportion of the referrals for adult abuse, including people with physical disabilites, mental health difficulties, learning disabilities and people with substance misuse.

One systematic review of studies of elder abuse has found that about a quarter of vulnerable elderly people are at risk of abuse, with only a small proportion of these currently detected.[2]

In the UK a cross-sectional survey of family carers for people with dementia found around a third reported important levels of abuse.

The primary objectives of safeguarding adult is to keep an individual safe and prevent further abuse from occurring.

The six principles of good safeguarding practice are:

  • Empowerment
  • Protection
  • Prevention
  • Proportionality
  • Partnership
  • Accountability

Interventions should be designed at making life easier, such as providing mobility support or treating physical and mental illness to help individuals uphold independence. Such actions decrease barriers to patients making their own choices and reduce their dependence to others.


To live a life free from abuse and harm is a basic human right. We are all responsible for the protection of people at risk from abuse.  Vulnerable adults rely on us. So Take the right steps to help keep adult safe. If we don’t, who will? To ignore abuse and neglect is to allow it to continue and that is never acceptable.