Adult safeguarding – helping adults at risk

Friends or relatives of the adult at risk

Please note: these pages contain information aimed at members of the public. If you are a professional (i.e. nurse, social worker) looking for advice and guidance, you should visit our Working within adult safeguarding pages.

If the adult at risk wants their relatives and friends to be involved within the safeguarding procedures it is important that they are. This will help them to feel fully supported when dealing with difficult or distressing issues.

If the adult at risk gives their consent, it will be possible to share with you the concerns for their welfare or safety. It will also be possible to involve you within meetings about how concerns or allegations are being addressed and how your friend or relative is being supported to be safe in the future.

If the adult at risk decides that they do not wish for a relative or friend to be informed or involved, professionals will need to respect this decision. If they do not have the mental capacity to decide this themselves, a decision will need to be made on their ‘best interests’ under the Mental Capacity Act.

Information will only be shared in accordance with the Data Protection Act.

Your role within the process

Relatives or friends may have a range of roles depending on the circumstances and wishes of the adult at risk. These may include:

  • supporting your relative/friend to tell professionals what their views and wishes are and to help make sure these are heard
  • supporting your relative/friend through the process, including at meetings
  • sharing information about the risks your relative/friend is experiencing and what their support needs are
  • contributing to a plan to protect your relative/friend – this is called a Protection Plan and is a record of the agreed action to keep the person safe
  • supporting an assessment of your relative/friend’s needs – sometimes this might include your needs if you are a carer