Safeguarding Induction 

Welcome to the Re-engage safeguarding induction which provides you with all the knowledge you need in your volunteer role to safeguard vulnerable adults.   

It explains your safeguarding responsibilities, how to recognise signs of abuse and neglect, how to report your concerns and support available when you raise a concern. 

Adult safeguarding – what is it? 

Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.  Safeguarding vulnerable adults refers to the actions we take to ensure adults at risk of abuse, neglect and exploitation are protected from harm. 

We all have a duty of care to safeguard others from abuse and neglect.   

The aim of safeguarding is to: 

  • Stop abuse 

  • Prevent harm and reduce risk of abuse 

  • Safeguard adults in a way that supports them to have choice and control

  • Ensure their human rights are respected and upheld

  • Respond appropriately if there are concerns 

Who is a vulnerable adult? 

Vulnerable adults in England and Wales are defined as:  

  • People aged 18 or over  

  • Those who are receiving or may need community care services and support, because of learning, physical or mental disability, age or illness  

  • People who are or may be unable to take care of themselves, or unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation.  

Adults at risk in Scotland are defined as:  

  • People aged 16 or over  

  • Those unable to safeguard their own well-being, property, rights or other interest  

  • Those at risk of harm  

  • Those who are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness, physical or mental infirmity, who are more vulnerable to being harmed than adults who are not so affected  

What is abuse?  

Abuse can be: 

  • Something that happens once 
  • Something that happens repeatedly 
  •  A deliberate act 
  • Something that was unintentional, perhaps due to a lack of understanding 
  • A crime  

Abuse can happen anywhere, at any time and be caused by anyone. It might be: 

  • A partner or relative 
  • A friend or neighbour 
  • A paid or volunteer carer 
  • Other service users 
  • Someone in a position of trust 
  • A stranger 

Types of abuse 

  • Physical abuse refers to any acts that cause physical harm to the body.  This could include being hit, kicked, misuse of medication or inappropriate restraint 

  • Sexual abuse is when a vulnerable adult is made to take part in a sexual activity when they don’t wish to be involved in, that they can’t consent to or that they’re pressured into consenting to. For example, rape and sexual assault including inappropriate touching or being forced to look at sexual images. 

  • Psychological acts are those which cause emotional harm or distress to the vulnerable adult.  This can include name calling, humiliation, making fun of the person, blaming and verbal abuse. 

  • Financial or material abuse involves the abuser benefitting from the vulnerable adult’s financial situation.  Examples include theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with financial matters or misuse of someone else’s finances. 

  • Neglect involves the failure to provide care or support that causes harm or distress.  Examples of neglect are ignoring medical or physical needs, withholding necessities such as food and failure to provide access to appropriate healthcare 

  • Discriminatory abuse involves treatment or harassment based on age, gender, sex, sexuality, marital status, pregnancy, disability, race or religious belief.  It can include slurs, harassment and bullying 

  • Modern slavery is the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving of people using force, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception, or other means, for the purpose pf exploitation.   This includes forced labour, domestic servitude and sexual exploitation    

  • Institutional abuse can happen in any setting where formal care is provided.  Sometimes the abuse may be committed to benefit the organisation, but this isn’t always the case.  Examples include times for getting up and going to bed are set by staff rather than the personal preference of the vulnerable adult, failure to follow the [person’s care plan and set times for going to the toilet or bathing 

  • Domestic abuse is an incident or pattern of incidents controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading, and violent behaviour.  This includes abuse committed by a partner, ex-partner, family member and carer.  Domestic abuse can include psychological and emotional abuse, financial abuse, harassment and stalking 

  • Self-neglect is when a vulnerable adult fails to attend to their own basic needs like personal hygiene, health or living condition 

What to do if you are concerned about someone 

If an allegation of abuse is made: 

  • Reassure the person concerned  

  • Listen to what they are saying  

  • Make a note of what happened in as much detail as possible. The information should be factual and not based on opinions.  Record what the person tells you, what you have seen and witnessed if appropriate. 

  • Remain calm and do not show shock or disbelief  

  • Tell them that the information will be treated seriously  

  • Don’t start to investigate or ask detailed or probing questions  

  • Don’t promise to keep it a secret  

If you witness abuse, or abuse has just taken place:  

  • Call an ambulance if required  

  • Call the police if someone is at immediate risk  

  • Preserve evidence  

  • Keep yourself, staff, volunteers and service users safe  

How to report a concern 

If you have a safeguarding concern complete the ‘Incident Report’ and send to your Support Officer who will forward it to the Re-engage Designated Safeguarding Lead. 

All situations of abuse, or alleged abuse, will be discussed with the Designated Named Person. If a member of the Senior Management team, a Trustee, staff member or volunteer feels unable to raise this concern with the Designated Named Person, or their deputy, then concerns can be raised directly with their local Adult Social Care Team in England and Wales or their local Adult Protection Committee in Scotland. The alleged victim will be told that this will happen. This stage is called the alert.  

If it is appropriate and there is consent from the individual, or there is a good reason to override consent, such as risk to others, a referral (alert) will be made to Adult Social Care team (England) or Adult Protection Committee (Scotland). 

If the individual experiencing abuse does not have capacity to consent, a referral will be made without that person’s consent, in their best interests. 

How we will support you 

We will fully support you when you raise a concern and appreciate that this can cause anxiety, stress and be an up-setting experience. 

Your Support Officer will be able to talk through anything you are worried about.  If you feel  unable to raise the concern with them please contact your Re-engage Designated Safeguarding Leads Lisa Gillette (Head of Volunteering Innovation) or Katy Sitza (Head of Programme Development) at call 020 7240 0630. 

If you are concerned that you have not been listened to contact the whistle blowing charity, Protect on 02031172520. 

Thank you 

Thank you for completing your safeguarding induction.  If you have any feedback, suggestions or questions please email

Contact us

We have teams across the UK and our national office is in London.


2 Grosvenor Gardens


0800 716543

Office phone:

020 7240 0630