BNSSG Healthier Together

Agencies back campaign to protect vulnerable adults

21 November 2022

Organisations working with adults in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, are backing an annual national campaign to protect vulnerable adults from harm.

Safeguarding Adults Week (21-27 November) aims to help the public as well as health and care professionals know how to spot the signs that someone is at risk of abuse, neglect or harm, and how to respond effectively.

This year’s campaign has a particular focus on types of harm and abuse that have increased over the last two years such as self-neglect, financial and criminal exploitation, and domestic abuse.

Information about the campaign, and details of training events for local health and care professionals, will be shared on social media throughout the week using the hashtags #SAAW2022 and #SafeguardingAdultsWeek.

Tony Oliver, Independent Chair of South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board, said:

“Everyone has a right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. We need to raise public and professional awareness in supporting the reduction of adult abuse.

“Sadly, social changes including the increased isolation experienced by many during the pandemic, the growth of social media and cost of living pressures, can all affect the number of vulnerable people at risk of abuse and neglect.

“This week’s campaign aims to raise awareness of these risks and help people understand what abuse is, what to do if they identify risks to themselves or those most vulnerable to abuse or actually witness abuse.

“Ultimately, safeguarding is all of our responsibility and I urge people with concerns about a vulnerable adult to make them known to local agencies.”

Councillor Helen Holland, Bristol City Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said:

“During this safeguarding week, we want to remind people that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. Abuse can take many forms and can happen to anyone, at any time.

“Vulnerable adults who are not able to protect themselves from harm or exploitation may need support from a range of organisations to help them make informed choices and stay safe. Organisations across our city are working together in the Keeping Bristol Safe Partnership to ensure abuse is reported, investigated and stopped.

“Sadly, a number of factors including the national cost of living crisis can increase the number of vulnerable people at risk. It is very important that anyone with concerns about someone’s safety reports it to their local council or calls the police if a person is in immediate danger.”

Teresa Bell, Independent Chair of North Somerset Safeguarding Adults Board, said:

“National Safeguarding Week is an opportunity for our organisations and communities to come together to raise awareness of adult safeguarding. Take a look at the themes for the week and learn about how to get involved.

“This year we are focussing on contemporary safeguarding challenges, such as the growing incidence of self-neglect. Our aim is to start conversations and to highlight how we can all identify and respond to safeguarding risks and incidents.”

Rosi Shepherd, Chief Nursing Officer at BNSSG ICB, said:

“This year’s campaign highlights that adult abuse and neglect can happen anywhere and can take many forms.

“As a partner in the local safeguarding adults boards, the NHS is working together with the police, local authorities and others to raise awareness of safeguarding issues and importantly, ensure that organisations and individuals feel confident in identifying and reporting abuse.

“Please take a minute to find out more about the campaign via your local safeguarding adults board website and if you know someone who is experiencing abuse, please do report it.”

What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding is about protecting everyone’s right to live in safety from abuse and neglect.

Abuse comes in many forms including physical, emotional, psychological, domestic, financial, discriminatory, modern slavery, neglect and self-neglect.

Who is at risk?

Any adult can be at risk of abuse. Local authorities, organisations and agencies must act if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse for adults resident in their area who:

  • Have care and support needs, whether or not this is being provided by health or care services
  • Are experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • Are unable to protect themselves from abuse or neglect because of their health, care and support needs.

How to raise an adult safeguarding concern?

If you witness an adult safeguarding issue you can:

  • Call the police using 999 (if the person is in immediate danger)
  • Call 101 if you are concerned about an adult
  • You can also report adult abuse through your local council (contact details on websites)
  • If you are unsure about whether a safeguarding issue has occurred or is occurring, you should still raise your concerns. Speak to someone you trust who may be able to help you to report it.

More information about safeguarding adults can be found on your local Adult Safeguarding website.

The Local Authority contacts are:

Bristol City Council 0117 922 2700

North Somerset Council 01275 888 801

South Gloucestershire Council 01454 868007

Safeguarding Adults Week 2022 is a national awareness week organised by the Ann Craft Trust.

The Healthier Together partnership is made up of: BNSSG ICB, Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council, South Gloucestershire Council, Sirona Care & Health and One Care.