Six Principles of Adult Safeguarding

Six Principles of Adult Safeguarding

Everyone has a right to live and work without the fear of injury, abuse, or negligence regardless of their gender, belief, culture, social standings, physical aptitudes, or age. There are numerous legislations and guidelines to protect the human rights, health, and wellness of the citizens most at the risk.

The concept of safeguarding applies to all the policies, procedures, and processes that prevent the safety of vulnerable adults and children.

Anyone working in any workplace or organization that deals with adults or children who are at risk must have a clear and thorough understanding of safeguarding principles, legislations, and guidelines.

This content piece provides a detailed overview of general safeguarding concepts and principles.

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the action taken to ensure that individuals can live in a safe environment away from harm or abuse. These are the actions taken to promote the welfare and ensure the safety of adults and children who may be at risk of exploitation.

The sad reality is the abuse of vulnerable adults and children has become far too common in our society and safeguarding procedures are there to prevent such abuse.

Why is Safeguarding Important?

Safeguarding or contextual safeguarding is essential as it helps protect people who are unable to look after themselves due to age, disability, or other factors. It also helps mitigate the chances of abuse or neglect. This includes elders suffering from severe ailments, children, or people suffering from physical or mental disabilities.

Therefore, protecting the well-being and health of these people is crucial for those responsible to ensure safety within their work environment or organizations.

The Six Principles of Safeguarding

The UK government has created six safeguarding principles specifically for the health and social care sector to help prevent vulnerable adults or children from any kind of abuse or negligence.
These are:

  1. Empowerment
  2. Protection
  3. Prevention
  4. Proportionality
  5. Partnerships
  6. Accountability

Let us discuss each principle in more detail.

1. Empowerment

The first principle of adult safeguarding is to ensure that vulnerable adults and children must feel supported and confident in making their own decisions and giving informed consent. For example, a vulnerable individual should be able to permit medical treatment with complete knowledge of potential outcomes.

2. Protection

It is always better to provide protectionto the vulnerable adults and children at risk, as well as provide them the support and representation they need. Responsible persons and organizations can put effective measures in place to stop the occurrence of abuse and neglect and support those at risk.

3. Prevention

The third principle of safeguarding adults is prevention. The saying "prevention is better than cure" is true for this principle. Because it is always good to prevent the harm before occurring than to report the incident. It is the act of organizations to take actions that minimizes the chances of abuse or harm to those vulnerable to it.

4. Proportionality

This is to ensure that those having a duty of care must have effective ways to deal with a safeguarding issue and the chosen approach must be proportionate to the risk presented to the vulnerable individuals. Any safeguarding issue must be appropriate and proportional to the particular risk a person faces.

5. Partnerships

This principle encourages collaboration between organizations and local communities. All the communities, local authorities, businesses, and organizations must work together to identify and prevent the abuse and neglect.

6. Accountability

Everyone has the responsibility to keep the other person safe. There must be complete accountability and transparency to any safeguarding principle so that the problem can be easily detected, controlled, and minimized.

The Safeguarding Legislation

Following are the current and major pieces of legislation revolving around safeguarding:

1. The Care Act 2014

This is the key piece of legislation associated with safeguarding vulnerable people. It applies to both vulnerable adults and children.

2. The Children Act 1989

This act emphasizes that the safety of children is supreme. It explains safeguarding principles for social care workers, courts, and local authorities.

3. The Children & Social Work Act 2017

This law provides guidelines for improved support for the children in care.

4. The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006

This law is closely linked to the processes associated with employing people who deal with vulnerable adults and children.


This piece of content is a thorough guide on what safeguarding adults and children are, the main principles of safeguarding, and the recent legislation regarding safeguarding and prevention.

Abuse, negligence, and harm are some of the key reasons that can result in severe injuries and harm to physical and psychological health and those responsible for the protection of safety must have adequate knowledge, procedures and health and safety training in place to deal with the problem.


Image Credits: Freepik

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