This glossary is not an exhaustive list, but reflects some of the key words or terms that could be used in all aspects of adult safeguarding work.

4LSAB Four Local Safeguarding Adults Boards covering Southampton, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.

Abuse includes physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, financial, material, neglect, acts of omission, discriminatory and institutional abuse.

ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers), an organisation that leads the development of police policy in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

ADASS (Association of Directors of Adult Social Services) is the national leadership association for directors of local authority adult social care services.

Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need.

Alerter: the person who raises a concern that an adult is being, has been, or is at risk of being abused or neglected. This could be the person themselves, a member of their family, a carer, a friend or neighbour or could be a member of staff or a volunteer.

Assessment is a process to gather information, assess the health and social care needs of an vulnerable person at risk of abuse, or of an adult who may have caused harm.

Best interests decision:  a decision made in the best interests of an individual defined by the Act) when they have been assessed as lacking the mental capacity to make a particular decision. The best interest decision must take into consideration anything relevant such the past or present wishes of the person, a lasting power of attorney or advance directive. There is also a duty to consult with relevant people who know the person such as a family member, friend, GP or advocate.

CAADA (Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse) is a national charity supporting a strong multi-agency response to domestic violence. The CAADA DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and Honour-based violence) risk identification checklist (RIC) was developed by CAADA and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Care Act 2014: came into force in April 2015 and significantly reforms the law relating to care and support for adults and carers. This legislation also introduces a number of provisions about safeguarding adults at risk from abuse or neglect.  Clauses 42-45 of the Care Act provide the statutory framework for protecting adults from abuse and neglect.

Care and support needs: the support a person needs to achieve key outcomes in their daily life as relating to well being, quality of life and safety. The Care Act introduces a national eligibility threshold for adults with care and support needs which consists of three criteria, all of which must be met for a person’s needs to be eligible.

Care Programme Approach (CPA): an approach introduced in England in the joint Health and Social Services Circular HC(90)23/LASSL(90)11, The Care Programme Approach for people with a mental illness, referred to specialist psychiatric services, published by the Department of Health in 1990. This requires health authorities, in collaboration with social services departments, to put in place specified arrangements for the care and treatment of people with mental ill health in the community.

Care Setting/Services includes health care, nursing care, social care, domiciliary care, social activities, support setting, emotional support, housing support, emergency housing, befriending and advice services and services provided in someone’s own home by an organisation or paid employee for a person by means of a personal budget.

Carer refers to unpaid carers, for example, relatives or friends of the person at risk. Paid workers, including personal assistants, whose job title may be ‘carer’, are called ‘staff’ within this document.

Case Conference is a multi-agency meeting held to discuss the outcome of the investigation and to put in place a protection or safety plan.

Central Referral Unit is where all adult safeguarding referrals to the police are received, risk assessed, graded and allocated for action by the most appropriate police team and/or partner agency.

Channel Panel: essentially a safeguarding programme aimed at supporting individuals identified as vulnerable to being drawn into violent extremism or terrorist related activity. As with other safeguarding practices Channel is reliant on a multi-agency response and multi-disciplinary work to minimise and manage the risk to an individual. Channel is voluntary and so the individual must give consent. Channel draws on existing collaboration between local authorities, the police, statutory partners and the local community.

Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG): these were formally established on 1 April 2013 to replace Primary Care Trusts and are responsible for the planning and commissioning of local health services for the local population.

Clinical Governance is the framework through which the National Health Service (NHS) improves the quality of its services and ensures high standards of care.

Coercive behaviour is: “An act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.”

Community Safety Partnerships bring agencies and communities together to tackle crime within their communities. Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) are made up of representatives from the responsible authorities, these are:

  • Police
  • Police authorities
  • Local authorities
  • Fire and Rescue authorities
  • Local health boards (LHBs) in Wales
  • Commissining Care Groups in England
  • Probation

Community Safety Partnerships were set up as statutory bodies under Sections 5-7 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

Concern. A concern that a person at risk is or may be a victim of abuse, neglect or exploitation. A concern may be a result of a disclosure, an incident, or other signs or indicators.

Consent is the voluntary and continuing permission of the person to the intervention based on an adequate knowledge of the purpose, nature, likely effects and risks of that intervention, including the likelihood of its success and any alternatives to it.

Contemporaneous notes:  notes taken at the time of meetings with individuals, telephone calls, visits to premises during the course of an investigation. These may also be important in the context of giving evidence in legal proceedings.

Controlling behaviour is: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

CPA (Care Programme Approach) was introduced in England in the joint Health and Social Services Circular HC(90)23/LASSL(90)11, The Care Programme Approach for people with a mental illness, referred to specialist psychiatric services, published by the Department of Health in 1990. This requires health authorities, in collaboration with social services departments, to put in place specified arrangements for the care and treatment of people with mental ill health in the community.

CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) is the government department responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales.

CQC (Care Quality Commission) is responsible for the registration and regulation of health and social care in England.

DASH (Domestic Abuse, Stalking and Harassment and ‘Honour’-based Violence) risk identification checklist (RIC) is a tool used to help front-line practitioners identify high risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’-based violence.

Defensible decision making: providing a clear rationale based on legislation, policy, models of practice or recognised tools utilised to come to an informed decision. This decision is based on the information known at that particular time and it is important to accurately and concisely record the decision making process, in order to explain how and why the decision was made at that time.

Disclosure and Barring Service. The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was established in 2012 through the Protection of Freedoms Act and merges two former organisations, the Criminal Records Bureau and the Independent Safeguarding Authority. The DBS is designed to help employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable adults. The DBS search police records and barring lists of prospective employees and issue DBS certificates. They also manage central barred lists of people who are known to have caused harm to vulnerable adults.

DoLS (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards) are measures to protect people who lack the mental capacity to make certain decisions for themselves. They came into effect in April 2009 using the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and apply to people in care homes or hospitals where they may be deprived of their liberty.

Domestic Violence and Abuse is defined as:
“Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass, but is not limited to, the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

Domestic Homicide Reviews are commissioned by local Safer Communities Partnerships in response to deaths caused through cases of domestic violence. They are subject to the guidance issued by the Home Office in 2006 under the Domestic Violence Crime and Victims Act 2004. The basis for the domestic homicide review (DHR) process is to ensure agencies are responding appropriately to victims of domestic abuse offering and/or putting in place suitable support mechanisms, procedures, resources and interventions with an aim to avoid future incidents of domestic homicide and violence.

Duty of Candour: a requirement on all health and adult social care providers registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to be open with people when things go wrong.   The duty of candour means that providers have to act in an open and transparent way in relation to service user care and treatment.

EDO (Emergency Duty Officer) is the social worker on duty in the emergency duty team (EDT).

FACS (Fair Access to Care Services) is a system for deciding how much support people with social care needs can expect, to help them cope and keep them fit and well. It applies to all the local authorities in England. Its aim is to help social care workers make fair and consistent decisions about the level of support needed, and whether the local council should pay for this.

Family Group Conferences (FGC): an approach used to try and empower people to work out solutions to their own problems.   A trained FGC co-ordinator can support the person at risk and their family or wider support network to reach an agreement about why the harm occurred, what needs to be done to repair the harm and what needs to be put into place to prevent it from happening again.

Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister and grandparents, whether directly related, in-laws or step-family; (Home Office 2012).

Harm: involves Ill treatment (including sexual abuse and forms of ill treatment which are not physical), the impairment of, or an avoidable deterioration in, physical or mental health and/or the impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development.

Hate Crime: any crime that is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be racist, homophobic, transphobic or due to a person’s religion, belief, gender identity or disability.

Health and Well Being Board: a statutory, multi-organisation committee of NHS and Local Authority commissioners coordinated by the Local Authority which gives strategic leadership across the Local Authority area regarding the commissioning of health and social care services.

Health Care Professions Council (HCPC): the Professional Body that regulates social workers and allied health professionals.  HCPC professional standards were amended in Jan 2016 to require all those registered with that body to comply with a professional DUTY to take appropriate action to address and report concerns about safety or wellbeing of people using services, follow up concerns and be open and honest if things go wrong.  

HealthWatch: an independent consumer champion created to gather and represent the views of the public. It exists in two distinct forms – local Healthwatch and Healthwatch England at a national level.   The aim of local Healthwatch is to give citizens and communities a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided within their locality. Local Healthwatch has taken on the work of the Local Involvement Networks (LINks).

HSE (Health and Safety Executive) is a national independent regulator that aims to reduce work-related death and serious injury across workplaces in the UK.

Human Trafficking: the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation”.  

IDVAs (Independent Domestic Violence Advisers) are trained support workers who provide assistance and advice to victims of domestic violence.

IMCAs (Independent Mental Capacity Advocates) were established by the Mental Capacity Act 2005. IMCAs are a legal safeguard for people who lack the capacity to make specific important decisions, including making decisions about where they live and about serious medical treatment options. IMCAs are mainly instructed to represent people where there is no one independent of services, such as a family member or friend, who is able to represent the person.

Intermediary is someone appointed by the courts to help a vulnerable witness give their evidence either in a police interview or in court.

Investigation is a process agreed within a strategy discussion or meeting undertaken by a member of staff of an organisation who has a lead responsibility to investigate the allegations of abuse.

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) is an acronym used to refer collectively to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Local Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB): a statutory, multi-organisation partnership committee, coordinated by the Local Authority, which gives strategic leadership for adult safeguarding, across the Local Authority.  A SAB has the remit of agreeing objectives, setting priorities and coordinating the strategic development of adult safeguarding across its area.

Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP): an approach to safeguarding work which aims to move away from safeguarding being process driven and instead, to place the person at risk at the centre of the process and work with them to achieve the outcomes they want.

MAPPA (Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements) are statutory arrangements for managing sexual and violent offenders.

MARAC (Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference) is the multi-agency forum of organisations that manage high risk cases of domestic abuse, stalking and ‘honour’-based violence.

Mate Crime: a form of exploitation which occurs when a person is harmed or taken advantage of by someone they thought was their friend.

Mental Capacity refers to whether someone has the mental capacity to make a decision or not.

Modern slavery: includes human trafficking, slavery, servitude ad forced and compulsory labour. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 became law on 26 March 2015 and is designed to tackle slavery in the UK and consolidates previous offences relating to trafficking and slavery.

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH): a joint service made up of Police, Adult Services, NHS and other organisations.  Information from different agencies is collated and used to decide what action to take. This helps agencies to act quickly in a coordinated and consistent way, ensuring that the person at risk is kept safe.

NHS (National Health Service) is the publicly funded health care system in the UK.

No Delay: the principle that safeguarding responses are made in a timely fashion commensurate with the level of presenting risk. In practice, this means that timescales act as a guide in recognition that these may need to be shorter or longer depending on a range of factors such as risk level or to work in a way that is consistent with the needs and wishes of the adult.

OAS (Offender Assessment System) a standardised process for the assessment of offenders, developed jointly by the National Probation Service and the Prison Service.

Out of Hours or EDT (Emergency Duty Teams) are social services teams that respond to out-of-hours referrals where intervention from the council is required to protect a vulnerable child or adult, and where it would not be safe, appropriate or lawful to delay that intervention to the next working day.

OPG (Office of the Public Guardian), established in October 2007, supports the Public Guardian in registering enduring powers of attorney, lasting powers of attorney and supervising Court of Protection appointed deputies.

PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) is an NHS service created to provide advice and support to NHS patients and their relatives and carers.

Person Causing the Harm is the person or adult who is alleged to have caused the abuse or harm.

PREVENT is the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, whose aim is to:

  • respond to the ideological challenge of terrorism and the threat from those who promote it
  • prevent people from being drawn into terrorism and ensure that they are given appropriate advice and support
  • work with sectors and institutions where there are risks of radicalisation that need to addressed.

Prevention: describes how the care and support system (and the organisations forming part of this system) work to actively promote the well being and independence of people rather than waiting to respond when people reach a crisis point. The purpose of this approach is to prevent, reduce or delay needs escalating.

Protection of property: the duty on the Local Authority to protect the movable property of a person with care and support needs who is being cared for away from home in a hospital or in accommodation such as a care home, and who cannot arrange to protect their property themselves. This could include their pets as well as their personal property (e.g. private possessions and furniture).

Public Interest – a decision about what is in the public interest needs to be made by balancing the rights of the individual to privacy with the rights of others to protection.

Radicalisation:  involves the exploitation of susceptible people who are drawn into violent extremism by radicalisers often using a persuasive rationale and charismatic individuals to attract people to their cause. The aim is to attract people to their reasoning, inspire new recruits and embed their extreme views and persuade vulnerable individuals of the legitimacy of their cause.  The PREVENT Strategy, launched in 2007, seeks to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Referral – an alert becomes a referral when it is passed on to a safeguarding adults referral point and accepted as a safeguarding adults referral.

Safeguarding:  activity to protect a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It involves people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that their well being and safety is promoted.

Safeguarding Adults Process refers to the decisions and subsequent actions taken on receipt of a referral. This process can include a strategy meeting or discussion, an investigation, a case conference, a care/protection/safety plan and monitoring and review arrangements.

Safeguarding Adults Work is used to describe all work to help adults at risk stay safe from significant harm.

Safeguarding Assessment is the process to gather information to assess the health and social care needs of a person at risk experiencing abuse, neglect or exploitation or of an adult who may have caused harm.

Safeguarding enquiry: the action taken or instigated by the Local Authority in response to a concern that abuse or neglect may be taking place. An enquiry could range from a conversation with the adult, or if they lack capacity, or have substantial difficulty in understanding the enquiry their representative or advocate, prior to initiating a formal enquiry under section 42, right through to a much more formal multi-agency plan or course of action. This is sometimes referred to as a section 42 enquiry’.

Safeguarding planning meeting: a multi-agency meeting (or discussion) involving professionals and the adult if they choose, to agree how best to deal with the situation as determined by the views and wishes of the individual.

Safeguarding support plan: one outcome of the enquiry may be the formulation of agreed actions for the adult which should be recorded on their care plan. This will be the responsibility of the relevant agencies to implement.

Safer Neighbourhood Teams are local police working with local people and partner agencies to identify and tackle issues of concern in their area to make neighbourhoods safer.

SAMA (Safeguarding Allegations Management Adviser): the person responsible within an organisation for the providing advice and guidance on cases involving allegations against people in a position of trust working in the organisation e.g. an employee, volunteer or student, paid or unpaid. The SAMA will maintain an oversight of individual complex cases and gain assurance that allegations have bene responded to appropriately.

Safeguarding Adult Review (SAR): a statutory review commissioned by the Safeguarding Adults Board in response to the death or serious injury of an adult with needs of care and support (regardless of whether or not the person was in receipt of services) and it is believed abuse or neglect was a factor. The process aims to identify learning in order to improve future practice and partnership working.

Self neglect: the inability (intentional or non-intentional) to maintain a socially and culturally accepted standard of self-care with the potential for serious consequences to the health and well being of the self-neglecters and perhaps even to their community.

Significant Harm is not only ill treatment (including sexual abuse and forms of ill treatment which are not physical), but also the impairment of, or an avoidable deterioration in, physical or mental health, and the impairment of physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development.

SIRI (Serious Incident Requiring Investigation) is a term used for serious incidents in the NHS requiring investigation. It is defined as an incident that occurred in relation to NHS- funded services resulting in serious harm or unexpected or avoidable death of one or more patients, staff, visitors or members of the public.

Specialist Services are dedicated teams or services provided for particular service user groups. Examples include Mentally Disordered Offenders Service (MENDOS) and Eating Disorders Services.

Strategy Discussion is a multi-agency discussion between relevant organisations, and which include the vulnerable adult, to agree how to proceed with the referral It can be face- to-face, by telephone or by e-mail.

Strategy Meeting is a multi-agency face-to-face meeting, with a chairperson and the relevant individuals involved, including the person at risk where appropriate, to agree how to proceed with the referral.

Vital Interest is a term used in the Data Protection Act 1998 to permit sharing of information where it is critical to prevent serious harm or distress, or in life threatening situations.

Wilful Neglect or Ill Treatment is an intentional or deliberate omission or failure to carry out an act of care by someone who has care of a person who lacks capacity to care for themselves. Section 44 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 makes it a specific criminal offence to wilfully ill-treat or neglect a person who lacks capacity.