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During September 2018 until the end of February 2019 the Safeguarding Adult Board (SAB) held a survey to find out what the general public knew about safeguarding adults at risk. The survey was accessible via easy read surveys and electronic surveys (Survey Monkey) and all responses were anonymous.

Who Took Part?

In total 122 members of the public responded to the survey. The age ranges of respondents were varied with the largest group being from the 45 – 54 age category closely followed by 55- 56 age group. Most were recorded as being female (70%) and white British (73%). 15 people (18%) stated that they had a care / support need and 15 respondents identified themselves as an ‘unpaid carer’.

What is Safeguarding?

89% of respondents said that they had heard of the term safeguarding before and most (50%) had heard about safeguarding from a safeguarding training event or conference, which might suggest that these people may have been professionals working within the safeguarding arena. In the ‘other category’ an additional 33 people knew about the term safeguarding from work and 3 knew through personal experience or family. A number of people had heard about safeguarding through social media (6%), the media (9%) (television / radio) and websites (8%). This reflects what professionals have informed the SAB from the recent self-assessment audit tool that all agencies need to do more to promote’ what safeguarding is’ to the public.

Who is an Adult at Risk?

For every category given within the survey over 60% indicated that they regarded them as being examples of adults at risk of abuse or neglect and this included; someone with a hearing impediment, someone in a wheel chair, someone being sexually or physically assaulted and someone with a broken leg. Clearly adults within these categories may have been harmed or may need support but they would not be readily identified by definition as an ‘adult at risk’.

For the question on ‘what people would consider as adult abuse’ over 90% stated that; not providing adequate care in residential or care home, withholding someone’s medication, humiliating or intimidating someone and pressurising someone into having a sexual relationship was adult abuse. This is a difficult area to understand in terms of adult abuse and further information would need to be known as to whether the brief statements were actual adult abuse cases as the adult having these things happening to them would have to be an ‘adult at risk’ by definition. That is not meaning to say that some of these categories are not abusive and not criminal but they are not necessarily ‘adult abuse’ in terms of an ‘adult at risk’.

This is an area that the SAB and partners need to work on in order to provide information to the general public as to ‘what is an adult at risk’ and ‘what is adult abuse’.

If an adult was at risk of being abused what would you do?

From the first question in this section of ‘if you had concerns that an adult was being abused or neglected would you report it, a resounding 100% of respondents to the question stated that they would. However, 29 people skipped the question.

To the question ‘If you thought that an adult was at risk of abuse or neglect and you decided that you would report it, where/who would you report this to?’ 34 people (32%) stated that they would contact either Cambridgeshire or Peterborough Adult Social Care, followed by; the Safeguarding Adults Board (17 people 18%), police (9 people 10%), a carer/support worker (7 people 8%), 5 % (5 people) would tell a general practitioner/nurse, 2% (2 people) family/friend and one person ‘did not know’.

20 people stated that they would tell ‘other’ people and this included; safeguarding leads, local authority, MASH (Multi-agency Safeguarding Hub) or a trusted person.

These answers would seem to reflect that the sample of respondents were professionals answering the survey though it is quite worrying that the second highest group would report a safeguarding concern to the SAB.

Reporting safeguarding concerns in relation to an adult at risk is an area for the SAB and partners to work on to ensure that both professionals and members of the public are aware of who to contact.

The Safeguarding Adults Board

To the question ‘Have you heard of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Adults Safeguarding Board?’ 74% of respondents said that they had with 24 people saying that they had not and 29 people skipped the question. This could be a good indication that the general public have heard of the SAB, but this is a relatively small sample and it is not exactly clear whether a number of professionals completed this survey as well as the general public.

Further Information:

Safeguarding Board Website:

Reporting a Safeguarding Concern :

SAB Leaflets:

Multi-Agency Safeguarding Training:

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