Safeguarding adults

A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves, or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited. This may be because they have a mental health problem, a disability, a sensory impairment, are old and frail, or have some form of illness.

There are different forms of abuse, including: physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, financial or material abuse, neglect, discriminatory abuse, and institutional abuse. Any of these forms of abuse can be either deliberate or be the result of ignorance, or lack of training, knowledge or understanding. Often if a person is being abused in one way they are also being abused in other ways.

The person who is responsible for the abuse is very often well known to the person abused and could be:

  • a paid carer or volunteer;
  • a health worker, social care/other worker;
  • a relative, friend or neighbour;
  • another resident or service user;
  • an occasional visitor or someone who is providing a service; or
  • people who deliberately exploit vulnerable people.

Key findings for Lancashire-12

  • There were 11,327 safeguarding alerts to Lancashire County Council in 2016/17.
  • Just under a third (32.2%) were for adults aged 75-85 years. Almost a quarter (24.5%) were for adults aged 85+, while 12.9% were for adults aged 65-74 years and 30.4% were adults aged 18-64 years.
  • For those aged 18-64, the majority (38.9%) of alerts were for adults with a learning disability. 
  • For those aged 65-74, 44.3% of alerts were for adults with a physical disability, frailty and sensory impairment. This was also the highest category for those aged 75-85 (52.5%) and 85+ (45.6%).
  • There were 4,573 safeguarding referrals in 2016/17, with almost a third of these for adults aged 75-85 years.

Safeguarding adults means that local authorities, police and NHS agencies involved with adults who might be at risk of abuse have a duty of care to ensure that procedures are in place that encourage reporting of suspected abuse, and take action to stop the abuse. Lancashire's Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB) has a major role to play in ensuring that Lancashire's residents who are at risk of harm are assisted to be safe and that all agencies contribute to the promotion of their welfare.

The aims and priorities of Lancashire's Safeguarding Adults Board are:

  1. To provide strategic leadership and secure assurance of safeguarding quality and performance activity across the county, that enquiries are appropriate and person centred.
  2. To work closely with all multi-agency partners and parallel strategic boards to provide strategic vision across the county and set clear and achievable aims and priorities.
  3. To ensure that partners and agencies share a common understanding of what constitutes abuse and are able to recognise risk factors and what situations should be alerted and reported.
  4. To ensure that the LSAB has strategic links to promote early intervention to prevent harm and supports the creation of vigilant services and communities.

Page updated October 2017