Safeguarding adults and coronavirus

This page includes information on safeguarding adults and coronavirus for members of the public, volunteers and professionals. It will be updated as new information or guidance is available. 

Some people are particularly at risk during this difficult time – either of isolation and neglect, or of domestic violence and other forms of abuse. It is important that everyone is aware of safeguarding risks and what can be done to reduce or report them. 

Important safeguarding adults messages

Safeguarding adults is everyone’s responsibility. Now more than ever it is important that we are watchful and alert towards the signs and indicators of abuse and neglect.

If you have a concern about an adult at risk you should report it.

Volunteering?

We know that many people have signed up to volunteer and help the most vulnerable. Your role is important, not only in helping people to get the things they need, but also being the extra eyes and ears for those who are at risk of abuse or neglect. During this time there is less likely to be professional face-to-face contact with vulnerable people so we are more reliant on volunteers and members of the pubic reporting concerns.

Please be aware that some people might volunteer to help or offer support in order to take advantage of a vulnerable person. Where possible you should offer your help or support via the local or national co-ordinated schemes such as the Volunteer Centre Newcastle or NHS Volunteer Responders.

If you are volunteering, you should familiarise yourself with some basic information about what safeguarding adults is and how to report concerns. You can do this in a variety of ways:

Waltham Forest have produced a short film explaining some basic safeguarding adults messages for volunteers. These messages apply in Newcastle. If you do not have a single/designated point of contact for safeguarding adults, you can report directly to Adult Social Care (see above). 

There are lots of additional information on our Resources for Practice page

Self-isolating or shielding?

If you or a family member are self-isolating or shielding you might be at increased risk of abuse or neglect at this time. There are lots of people and organisations working to try and reduce these risks, but there are also things you can do and be aware of at this time:

  • If you need help and support at this time, try to use existing and trusted community groups. You can register with Welfare and Wellbeing Team to ask for help or support. The Welfare and Wellbeing Team helpline telephone number is 0800 170 7001 or 0191 277 8000.  Someone from the dedicated Welfare and Wellbeing Team will call you back within 24 hours to talk you though any concerns you have. 
  • If you don’t want to use the Welfare and Wellbeing Team, could a trusted family member, friend or neighbour help?
  • Not sure, don’t answer the door. If you’re not sure about an offer of help, ask the person to leave their details and talk to someone you trust about it. 

You can also:

Scams awareness for everyone

Familiarising yourself (whether you are vulnerable or not) with some of the scams associated with coronavirus is important. National Trading Standards and Friends Against Scams have highlighted some of the scams they are aware of, but please note that criminals come in all shapes and sizes and can contact you at the door, by phone, post or online:

  • Criminals are sending texts and emails pretending to be trusted organisations.
  • Emails saying that you can get a refund on taxes, utilities or similar are usually bogus and they are just after your personal and bank details.
  • People offering to do your shopping or collecting medication and asking for money upfront and then disappearing.

Important advice to follow:

  • Stop: Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.
  • Challenge: Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse, or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you. Your bank or the police will never ask for your bank details over the phone. 
  • Protect: Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud (Telephone – 0300 123 2040).

You can also read and/or share the National Trading Standards and Friends Against Scams poster, “Wash Your Hands of Coronavirus Scams!”

Take Five is a national campaign that gives advice to help stop email, phone and online fraud. Visit their website to find out more: www.takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/

Locally you can report scams to Northumbria Police (via an online report, 101 or 999 in an emergency) or Trading Standards at Newcastle City Council. 

Information for professionals

We know that Coronavirus continues to place organisations and their staff under great strain but our legal and moral duty keep adults at risk safe and protected remains. The Coronavirus Act (2020) and associated Care Act easements: guidance for local authorities (see Annex D) do not affect the safeguarding protections in the Care Act (2014).

Below are some important updates with regards to safeguarding adults in Newcastle:

  • Continue to raise safeguarding adults concerns in the usual way. During Covid-19 it is especially important that referrers are clear about the risks, actions taken to manage immediate risks and any informal support the adult at risk might have, especially if the person is unable to represent themselves in the safeguarding adults process. Read our guide on making a good safeguarding adults referral. 
  • Safeguarding Adults meetings continue to take place with the majority being held via teleconference. If you are invited to participate in a safeguarding adults meeting you will receive further guidance on how you can be a part of the meeting. We have produced some good practice guidance on how to involve an adult at risk or their representative in the safeguarding adults process when you might not be able to meet face-to-face. 
  • The Safeguarding Adults Unit advice line is still in operation. If you require advice relating to safeguarding adults you can call the Safeguarding Adults Unit on 0191 278 8156 to speak to one of our Safeguarding Adults Managers.
  • We have produced some guidance on the increased risk of abuse or neglect faced by adults with needs for care and support.
  • We want to try and prevent abuse and neglect of adults with care and support needs where possible. Read our Preventing abuse and neglect of adults at risk during Covid-19 for information on local and national support and services available at this time.
  • Weekly updates on domestic abuse and coronavirus are being circulated by Safe Newcastle. You can sign up to receive these emails by contacting Joanne Douglas – joanne.douglas@newcastle.gov.uk   
  • The Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) have updated safeguarding adults guidance for care providers during Covid-19. 
  • There are lots of additional safeguarding adults resources and tools on our Resources in Practice page.

Useful webpages

Newcastle City Council Coronavirus 

Information Now (information website for adults, their families and carers in Newcastle)

Search