Wherever practicable, practitioners should seek the informed consent of the Adult before taking safeguarding action, which includes undertaking a safeguarding enquiry and implementing a safeguarding plan. Sometimes a person who is experiencing abuse or neglect may decide they do not want help or support to stop the abuse or neglect. If they have the mental capacity to make such a decision and no one else is at risk, professionals may not have a remit to intervene.

However, there may be circumstances when consent cannot be obtained. This could be because it is not safe to do so, or because the Adult lacks capacity to give consent but it is in their best interests that a concern is raised or a safeguarding enquiry is made. Whether or not the Adult has capacity to give consent, action may need to be taken if:

  • There is risk to the individual that is high (life or limb);
  • Others are, or will be, put at risk if nothing is done; or
  • Where it is in the public interest to take action because a criminal offence has occurred