Safeguarding is everyone's business

No child or adult should be made to feel unsafe. Everyone has a right to be safe from harm and abuse. All of us have a role to play in safeguarding, never more so than during COVID-19.
Image of 3 girls sitting

You have a major role to play in protecting children and adults at risk of harm and abuse – now more than ever.

Right now, vulnerable children and adults may be particularly isolated, meaning that the family, community and professional networks they usually rely on may be unavailable or hard to access. At the same time, living under the current arrangements may increase the pressures that can contribute to abuse and neglect, or allow it to go unseen. Neighbours, volunteers and professionals – like pharmacists, shop and supermarket workers – can play a vital role in keeping adults and children safe.

When supporting others during the COVID-19 outbreak, you may well come into contact with children and adults who are at risk of harm or abuse. In these situations, recognising the potential signs of harm or abuse, and knowing what to do if you have a concern, can make a real difference. You should not ignore your concerns or assume that someone else will report the abuse.

Report a safeguarding concern in The Royal Borough

What kind of signs to look out for

Abuse and neglect could fall under a number of categories, including domestic, physical, psychological and/or emotional, economic, or sexual.

Although not an exhaustive list, some signs to look for in contact with
individuals at risk of harm or abuse include:

  • unusual injuries, including bruises, burns, fractures, bite marks or signs of self-harm
  • consistently poor hygiene, poor living conditions or inappropriate clothing
  • communicating aggressively or using sexual language
  • appearing withdrawn, guarded, anxious or frightened, particularly around certain individuals
  • hearing or seeing shouting, violence or intimidation
  • adults keeping children, or adults in need of support, from view, and
  • unsupervised children visiting a house where only adults live

Further material on the signs to spot to protect children can be found at

For more information on signs of abuse that can affect adults, please see the Social Care Institute for Excellence guidance on safeguarding adults during the pandemic:


Safeguarding Leaflet

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