The six safeguarding principles were originally produced for the safeguarding of adults but can also be applied to the safeguarding of children.

Safeguarding both adults and children is about preventing the risk of harm from abuse or exploitation or having the ability to reduce it by raising awareness and supporting people in making informed decisions.

The UK Government created these six safeguarding principles especially for the health and social care sector to help better protect adults.

Together, the principles are an aid to understanding actions that need to be taken to protect people and are agreed within the Care Act 2014.


1. Empowerment 

Ensuring people are supported and confident in making their own decisions and giving informed consent.

Empowerment gives individuals choice and control over decisions made.

2. Protection 

Providing support and representation for those in greatest need.

Organisations can put measures in place to help stop abuse from occurring and offer help and support to those at risk

3. Prevention

It is crucial to try and take action before harm occurs, preventing neglect, harm or abuse is the primary objective.

Prevention is the act of organisations working to stop abuse before it happens. Raising awareness, training staff and making information easily accessible are all ways that they can demonstrate prevention measures and encourage individuals to ask for help.

4. Proportionality

We must take a proportionate and least intrusive response to the issue presented.

Proportionality ensures that services take each person into account when dealing with abuse. They will respect each individual and assess any risks presented.

5. Partnerships

Forming partnerships with local communities can create solutions as they can assist in preventing and detecting abuse.

Partnerships give organisations the opportunity to work together, as well as with the local community.


6. Accountability

Being accountable and having complete transparency in delivering safeguarding practice.

Safeguarding is everyone’s business and accountability makes sure that everyone plays their part when it comes to safeguarding vulnerable people. Everyone is accountable for their actions as individuals, services and organisations.

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