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Safeguarding adults

Tell us if you’re worried about an adult, even if you are unsure if we need to know. For example, you might think an adult is unsafe or suspect abuse.

What to do if you or someone else is at risk

  • If you suspect that you or an adult you know is at risk of abuse or neglect, contact us by calling 0208 314 7777.
  • If you have concerns about someone's immediate safety, call the police on 999.
  • Find out what to do if you are worried about a child.
Adult safeguarding means protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. Safeguarding is aimed at people with care and support needs who may be in vulnerable circumstances and at risk of abuse and neglect
definition of safeguarding from the care Act 2014

Who abuses?

Abuse can be undertaken by anybody. There is no particular type of person. Abuse can be undertaken by strangers, neighbours, friends, family, loved ones, social care staff, health staff, informal carers, users of services and paid for carers.

Sometimes the abuse may be unintentional or intentional. Sometimes it may result in less or greater harm. Sometimes loved ones may cause harm due to stress.

Whatever the circumstances abuse is not acceptable and adults who need support deserve to live safe lives. We work with you towards resolving the circumstances that have put you at risk and supporting and maintaining supportive relationships with those important to you.

What is abuse?

Abuse is harm that is caused by anyone that has power over another person.

Abuse falls under several different categories however some types of abuse may fall under more than one category. These categories are described below to help you understand the ways in which abuse can present itself.

Not all adults will identify abusive or neglectful behaviour from another person. Remember abuse is never acceptable and if you feel something is 'not right' then talk to someone you trust:

Abuse may be:

  • physical – or example hitting, slapping, pushing

  • emotional or psychological – for example shouting, verbal insults and swearing

  • financial – money stolen or possessions used/taken without permission

  • neglect – not being properly cared for or mismanaged medication

  • discriminatory – suffering abuse on the grounds of religion, culture, gender, sexuality

  • institutional – for example poor care provision in a care home due to lack of staff training

  • self-neglect – failure to take care of him or herself could be due to poor health, depression or lifestyle choice. Examples include living in unsanitary conditions or being unable to care for an illness.

Some adults choose to live in way that could be perceived as self-neglectful for example hoarders or someone that refuses to wash. If you have a concern about adult self-neglect, please report this. The reasons for self-neglect can vary from person to person. We always start from the point of view of the person and offer the best information, advice and support that person wishes and needs.

Signs of abuse

It is common for people who experience abuse to show changes in their normal appearance, personality and routines. These changes could be subtle and progress as time goes on. It is important if you notice any changes to report this. Everyone is different and noticing changes that are not normal for that person could be a sign that abuse or neglect is occurring, for example:

  • not having enough money to pay bills and purchase shopping

  • becoming isolated, withdrawn and secretive

  • unexplained bruises, scratches or injury

  • anxious or easily startled

  • unexplained weight loss

  • loss of self esteem

  • malnutrition, ulcers, bedsores being left in wet clothing

  • behaviour that is not normal for that person, such as becoming aggressive.

Domestic abuse

Adults at risk can experience domestic abuse from partners, family members and carers, the type of abuse experienced can overlap with adult abuse. We offer adults at risk support and advice to achieve resolution and recovery if they experience domestic abuse. We also work in close partnership with services that can offer domestic violence support.

If you are an adult at risk or you believe an adult at risk is experiencing domestic violence please contact us.

What to do if you have a concern

If you observe abusive behaviour or suspect it and you believe the person is an adult at risk then you must report this to us.

If you directly experience the abuse or behaviour that worries you, try and speak to somebody you trust or contact us directly.

You could try speaking to a:

  • friend

  • relative

  • GP

  • social worker

  • your carer

  • a religious leader

  • the police

  • your district nurse.

Always remember:

  • abuse is not right

  • abuse is not your fault

  • you have the right to live a life free of fear

  • we will listen to your views and wishes.

What happens when abuse is reported

  • We listen.

  • We have safeguarding workers that are skilled to ask your views and what you wish to achieve.

  • We will help you stay safe – we may need to call the police, doctor or a friend to help us do that.

  • If you are unable to make a decision due to a mental impairment we shall undertake a decision in your best interests.

  • We will use your goals as the starting point of what we do next.

  • We will talk you through the process, to make sure you are clear and want us to help you.

  • We will gather information from a number of different people.

  • We will allocate the right person to do this – maybe a social care worker, a staff member in the voluntary sector or a health staff member.

  • We will find out if you need help to speak up and find the right person to help you such as a friend, family member, appropriate adult or advocate.

  • We keep you up-dated at every step of the way.

Lewisham Safeguarding Adults Board

The purpose of Lewisham Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB) is to help and safeguard adults with care and support needs by:

  • making sure local safeguarding arrangements for Lewisham are in place as defined by the Care Act 2014 and statutory guidance
  • making sure that safeguarding practice in Lewisham is person-centred and outcome-focused
  • working together across Lewisham to prevent abuse and neglect where possible
  • making sure agencies and individuals give timely and appropriate responses when abuse or neglect has taken place
  • making sure that safeguarding practice is always improving and making the quality of life better for adults in Lewisham.

In Lewisham the Adult Safeguarding Board believes that:

"safeguarding is everyone's business".

This is our promise to you. By working together, the risk of abuse or harm can be reduced by raising awareness of safeguarding adults.

As we gather more information, areas of concern are identified so that measures to keep people safe can be put in place.

Take a look at helpful adult safeguarding information for both residents and professionals.

Adult social care enquiries

Opening hours:

Monday–Friday 9am–5pm