The Care Act Statutory Guidance identifies prevention as one of the six key principles that underpin all adult safeguarding work and as part of this, identifies the aims of safeguarding as including:

  • The prevention of harm and reduction in the risk of abuse or neglect to adults with care and support needs;
  • Raising public awareness so that professionals, other staff and communities as a whole play their part in preventing, identifying and responding to abuse and neglect

Preventative measures are not the same as being overly protective of individuals, prevention is largely rooted in good observation and information sharing; the use of evidence-based research into the causal factors and ‘at-risk’ indicators of abuse and neglect and the application of clear policy and procedural frameworks to guide and support those working to safeguard Adults.

The most effective preventative strategies are those that enable adults at risk to take steps to make themselves safer and to be able to take power and control in their lives. Best practice is for organisations to make information accessible to people who may be at risk. Awareness-raising about what constitutes abuse or neglect for service users is also a significant preventative measure as this promotes vigilance and openness to the possibility that abuse or neglect may be happening.

All agencies should stress the need for preventing abuse and neglect wherever possible. Observant professionals and other staff making early, positive interventions with individuals and families can make a huge difference to their lives, preventing the deterioration of a situation or breakdown of a support network.

Agencies should implement robust risk management processes in order to prevent concerns escalating to a crisis point and requiring intervention under safeguarding adult procedures. Partners should ensure that they have the mechanisms in place that enable early identification and assessment of risk through timely information sharing and targeted multi-agency intervention.

See also: SSAB Prevention Strategy