This National Adult Safeguarding Week, local health and social care organisations are calling on the public to find out more about what safeguarding is - and the role we all have to play.

There are lots of reasons that a person might need those around them to look out for their wellbeing. They could be frail, have a learning disability or be living with poor mental health - any one of these things can leave people more vulnerable to harm than most.

Innes Richens, Chief of Health and Care Portsmouth, said: "All adults have the right to be and feel safe - and we all have a role to play in making that happen. Whether you know people personally or professionally, we can all take small steps to look out for those that might need a little extra support to live safe and healthy lives.

"The first step in keeping a vulnerable person safe is simple - it all starts with a conversation. If you're worried about someone, let them know you are there to listen, and help if needed. In Portsmouth we work closely with our police and health colleagues, to safeguard adults and we value the support and contribution that everyone in the city can make."

If people are worried that an adult is at risk of harm - whether that is physical, emotional, financial or sexual - they can reach out to the Adult Multi-agency safeguarding hub PortsmouthAdultMASH@portsmouthcc.gov.uk  or call 023 9268 0810. If it is an emergency, call 999.

This short video produced in partnership with the four local safeguarding boards in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton gives a good overview of safeguarding: Introduction to Adult Social Care across Hampshire, Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. 

Who does adult safeguarding apply to?

A person over 18 with care and support needs, living in the Portsmouth area who is at risk of, or experiencing, abuse or neglect and as a result of their care and support needs is unable to protect themselves, will be able to access safeguarding support. This may be a person who:

  • is elderly and frail due to ill health, physical disability or cognitive impairment
  • has a learning disability
  • has a physical disability and/or a sensory impairment
  • has mental health needs including dementia or a personality disorder
  • has a long-term illness/condition
  • misuses substances or alcohol
  • is a carer, (family member/friend) and is subject to abuse
  • does not have capacity to make a decision and is in need of care and support.

Abuse can happen anywhere and can be carried out by anyone. This could be family, friends and neighbours, paid staff, carers or volunteers. It could also be other service users, tenants or strangers. Abuse is anything that harms another person and might include:

  • Physical abuse such as hitting, pushing, locking someone in a room.
  • Verbal abuse such as shouting, swearing.
  • Emotional abuse such as bullying, taunting or humiliating someone.
  • Sexual abuse such as inappropriate touching, forcing someone to take part in any sexual act against their will.
  • Financial abuse such as misusing, withholding or taking someone’s money.
  • Neglect such as not providing necessary food, care or medicine.
  • Discrimination such as ill treatment due to the person’s age, gender, disability or religious beliefs.

Where can I find out more?

The Portsmouth Safeguarding Adults Board website has general advice, as well as one minute guides on best practice.

The Ann Craft Trust has a guide to the 14 types of abuse, which signposts to useful resources for professionals and members of the public.