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Safeguarding Adults - from harm or abuse

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Information and support to help reduce the incidence of harm to adults at risk.

Everyone has the right to live without fear of harm or abuse.

We work closely with our partner agencies in the field of adult protection to reduce the incidence of harm, and to improve the lives of the adults at risk in our communities.

What to do if you suspect an adult is being harmed or abused:

  • If you are a member of the public and you are concerned that someone you know may be harmed in any way, or you are being harmed: contact the Adult Access Team or the Out of Hours Service
  • If you represent a care agency, care home or other commercial provider, or are a health or other care professional: contact the Safeguarding Adults Triage Team to make a safeguarding alert
  • In a crisis, or if a crime is in progress or a life is at risk: dial 999 for the Emergency Service

Copies of our leaflet, 'Safeguarding Adults' (opens in a new window) can be ordered or downloaded through our factsheet page.

Say no to abuse leaflet (Easy to read format). (opens in a new window)

Zero tolerance

Dorset County Council operate a 'zero tolerance' approach to safeguarding adults and every alert will be taken seriously.  We can visit you or the adult concerned and find out what is happening.  As far as possible we will work with you, to investigate and resolve the situation.  If necessary we can help you to report your concerns to the police.  We can also help with any communication difficulties you may have.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) (opens in a new window) inspect care homes and home care agencies.  They respond to complaints about poor standards of care.

What do we mean by 'Adult at Risk'?

An Adult at Risk is a person aged 18 years and over who:

  • Is or may be in need of Community Care Services. Perhaps because of mental ill health, a learning disability, age, physical disability or other illness

  • Is or may be unable to take care of him or herself or 

  • Is unable to protect themselves against significant harm or serious exploitation

Anyone who comes to the attention of Dorset County Council or the other agencies who are working to the  'No Secrets' guidance (opens in a new window) may need to have their circumstances investigated if they are reported to be harmed or at risk of harm.

What do we mean by 'harm'

"It is the violation of an individual's human and civil rights by any other person or persons." (No Secrets, 2000).

There are several types of harm, for example:

  • Physical harm

  • Sexual harm

  • Psychological or emotional harm

  • Financial harm (theft, fraud, exploitation)

  • Neglect and Acts of Omission (failing to look after someone who needs care or support)

  • Institutional harm (where an organisation has policies or practices which are harmful)

  • Discriminatory harm (where an individual is treated unfairly compared with others)

What we do to safeguard adults

We lead in safeguarding adults at risk through:

  • Careful investigation of circumstances and responsibilities where people may have been harmed

  • Developing protection plans with the individual concerned to help stop them from coming to any further harm

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Adults policy - April 2015 (pdf, 589kb) (opens in a new window)

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Adults procedure - April 2015 (pdf, 1Mb) (opens in a new window)

Extra information for health and care professionals

If you represent a care agency, care home or other commercial provider, or are a health or other care professional, you need to complete an alert form (word, 148kb) (opens in a new window) to make a safeguarding alert.  However, the Triage team encourage telephone calls to discuss raising an alert, so telephone before you email the form to them. 

You will also need to register with CISCO envelope service in order to send your alert form securely by email.  The Triage team can give you further details on this. Email completed forms to the Safeguarding Adults Triage Team.

Organisations that can help and further information

Action on Elder Abuse (opens in a new window)

Age UK - safeguarding older people from abuse (opens in a new window)

Dorset Advocacy (opens in a new window) provides advocacy to older people, disabled people, and people who have learning disabilities.

Guidance on when pressure ulcers, nutrition/hydration and falls become a safeguarding issue (pdf, 246kb) (opens in a new window)

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