SCIE Report 50: Safeguarding adults at risk of harm: A legal guide for practitioners

Published: December 2011

Review date: December 2014

The Department of Health (DH) commissioned this work in late 2009, and the document is up to date to December 2010. The DH was responding to requests from practitioners for a comprehensive guide to the legal framework underpinning adult safeguarding work

This guide is aimed primarily at practitioners working in various settings for organisations involved in safeguarding. But it may also be useful for volunteers, family. It aims to equip practitioners with information about how to assist and safeguard people. Knowing about the legal basis is fundamental, because the law defines the extent and limits of what can be done to help people and to enable people to keep themselves safe.

This guide is intended to serve as a pointer to the law and to how it can be used. It tries to explain the law in reasonably simple terms, so it is selective and does not set out full details of each area of law covered. When it comes to the law, further advice will often be needed, but an awareness of it can help practitioners ask the right sort of question and explore possible solutions.