Why safeguarding matters

Elderly man in a wheelchair being wheeled onto a bus

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

Safeguarding 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.

Organisations should always promote the adult’s wellbeing in their safeguarding arrangements. People have complex lives and being safe is only one of the things they want for themselves. Professionals should work with the adult to establish what being safe means to them and how that can be best achieved. Professionals and other staff should not be advocating “safety” measures that do not take account of individual well-being, as defined in Section 1 of the Care Act.

Safeguarding is not a substitute for:

  • Providers’ responsibilities to provide safe and high quality care and support;

  • Commissioners regularly assuring themselves of the safety and effectiveness of commissioned services;

  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) ensuring that regulated providers comply with the fundamental standards of care or by taking enforcement action; and

  • The core duties of the police to prevent and detect crime and protect life and property.

Documents relating to this question

The Aims of Adult Safeguarding


You should call 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response.

When should I use 101?

Use 101 to report crimes and concerns such as:

  • Your car has been stolen
  • Your property has been damaged
  • You suspect drug use or dealing in your neighbourhood

Or to:

  • Give the police information about crime in your area
  • Speak to the police about a general enquiry

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.