Practitioners who work or volunteer with adults

Welcome to the page of our website aimed at everyone who works or volunteers with adults and their families.

Here we will provides information and signposting about the key safeguarding issues you may come across when working or volunteering with adults and their families.

Everyone has the right to live their lives free from abuse. It is recognised that certain groups of people may be more likely to experience abuse and less able to access services or support to keep themselves safe.

Real Safeguarding Stories
These videos are designed to help us all think about adult safeguarding issues. Throughout our lives we can become vulnerable and at risk. These videos explore issues such as drug abuse, online fraud, mental health, care for the elderly, and neglect. They are also designed to help us reflect on how people can be best supported, for example by addressing the needs of the carer, or by ‘making safeguarding personal’.

Visit the website

What to do if you are concerned about an adult

Anyone can witness or become aware of information suggesting that abuse is occurring. It is important that everyone understands what to do, and where to get help and advice. It is vital that everyone remains vigilant on behalf of those unable to protect themselves. This will include:

  • knowing about different types of abuse and neglect and their signs
  • supporting adults to keep them safe
  • knowing who to tell about suspected abuse or neglect; and
  • supporting adults to think and weigh up the risks and benefits of different options when exercising choice and control.

If you are a practitioner and you become aware of adult abuse you should report your concern.

Adult Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub

Manchester City Council and its partners have a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) that screens all contacts concerning the welfare or safety of a child or adult.

The Manchester MASH operate a consultation line for partner agencies – the number is 0161 219 2895 and is available between 8.45am and 4.30pm on weekdays.

Note: All concerns about the safety or welfare of a child, young person or adult must go through the Manchester Contact Centre: 0161 234 5001.

The Adult MASH deals with new safeguarding concerns and those related to closed inactive cases, where there is an adult who:

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs); and
  • is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  • as a result of those care and support needs, is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.

Within the MASH information from different agencies will be collected and used to decide what action to take. As a result, the agencies will be able to act quickly in a coordinated and consistent way, ensuring that adults at risk are safe from harm or abuse.

The Adult MASH involves partners from the City Council, the police and Health and Mental Health services working together in the same location; other services and agencies such as probation, housing services are brought in as required.

The development of this service supports the ‘Our Manchester’ policy and the MASH will develop the following benefits:

  • The coordinated and consistent multi-agency response to new safeguarding concerns about an adult at risk.
  • An improved ‘journey’ for the adult with a greater emphasis on early intervention and better informed services provided at the right time.
  • Greater ability to identify potential vulnerability, enabling more preventative action to be taken, dealing with safeguarding concerns before they escalate.
  • A straightforward and responsive process for the professional or citizen raising a concern, with clear guidance and support.
  • Closer partnership working, clearer account ability and less duplication of effort.
  • A reduction in the number of inappropriate referrals and re-referrals.

For further information on the development of the Adult MASH contact:

  • Nigel Uttley, Service Lead (Safeguarding Adults and Quality Assurance) – Mobile number 07976582389
  • Gaynor McGinty, Operational and Performance Manager, Adult MASH – Mobile number 07771606851

What to do if someone is missing from home or their care provider

If an adult who has learning difficulties or a condition such as Alzheimer’s goes missing you should always call the police in the first instance, even if you think you know where they are. Every minute that they are missing increases the chances of them being harmed and the police will always prioritise this.

If an adult is missing you can inform the police and there is also a specialist national service Missing People to help you, telephone 0800 700 740 or visit their website

Find our more in our missing adults resource.

What to do if you receive an allegation about a professional

Adults can be at risk of harm by those who work with them in any setting; it could be a member of staff, a carer, volunteer or professional.

If someone raises concerns about a person working with a vulnerable adult you must take the allegation seriously and treat it in line with the agreed procedures of your organisation.

Who are ‘adults at risk of harm’?

The safeguarding duties apply to an adult who:

  • is 18 and over
  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs)
  • is experiencing, or at risk of harm of, abuse or neglect and as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of harm of, or experience of abuse or neglect.

Who may have care and support needs?

This may be a person who:

  • is elderly and frail due to ill health, physical disability or cognitive impairment
  • has a learning disability and or a sensory impairment
  • has mental health needs including dementia or a personality disorder
  • has a long term illness/condition
  • misuses substances or alcohol.

Why might a person be vulnerable?

There are many factors that could increase the risk of abuse. Everyone is a potential victim of crime or abuse but the following conditions can increase that vulnerability:

  • a learning disability
  • mental health issues
  • a physical or sensory impairment
  • is frail or an older person.

Abuse of adults does not have to be deliberate, malicious or planned. It can happen when people are trying to do their best but do not know the right thing to do; or the person who causes harm does so because of frustration  in the caring context.

Irrespective of why the abuse might happen, any abuse is harmful which makes it vitally important to ensure that those involved with the care and well being of others have a clear sense of what signifies abuse and what must happen should abuse be suspected or discovered. For more information see our ‘what is adult abuse?’ resource.

What is the definition of abuse?

The Care Act 2015 does not give a specific definition but says professionals should not limit their view of what constitutes abuse or neglect – it can take many forms and the circumstances of the individual case should always be considered. For more information see our ‘what is adult abuse?’ resource.

There is additional legal protection for such people under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 – for further information see our mental capacity resource.

Where could abuse occur?

Abuse can occur anywhere and is not confined to any one setting. Just because there are no records of abuse having occurred does not mean it has not happened or is not happening now. It is important to remain alert for the signs at all times; for example abuse can occur:

  • in nursing, residential or day care setting
  • in a persons’ own home
  • in another place previously assumed safe, for example prison
  • in a hospital or public place
  • in education, training or a work place setting.

Early Help for adults
Early help means intervening early and as soon as possible to stop problems emerging.

Lots of useful information for professionals working with adults can be found in Manchester City Council’s Help & Support Manchester Directory.


Got a question?

Use our quick Q+A to find commonly asked quesitons.

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