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Everyone has the right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect and this is why safeguarding is so important.
Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children or adults and to protect them from harm. It is protecting a person’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
Abuse and neglect can occur anywhere: in your own home, or a public place or while you’re in a health or social care organisation. You may be living alone or with others. The person causing the harm may be a stranger but, more often than not, you’ll know and feel safe with them. They can be in a position of trust and power, such as a health or care professional, relative or neighbour.

Abuse is a single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to a vulnerable person. Abuse can take many forms and can be perpetrated anywhere by anyone. It can be accidental, as the result of lack of knowledge or understanding, or done with intent to harm. Whatever the circumstances or reason, it is against the law. The term safeguarding means a range of activities aimed at upholding every individual’s fundamental right to be safe from such harm.

This is why Safeguarding is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the person’s wellbeing is promoted.


There are different types of abuse and neglect:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Domestic abuse
  • Discriminatory abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Neglect
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Child Sexual Exploitation
  • PREVENT – the government has a counter-terrorism strategy, which aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

Someone at risk is someone who may:

  • Have needs for care and support
  • Be experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • As a result of care and support needs, be unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect
What does Safeguarding children mean?
  • Protecting children from abuse and maltreatment
  • Preventing harm to children’s health or development
  • Ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care
  • Taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes
Safeguarding is everybody’s business at St John’s Hospice

We all share responsibility both corporately and individually to ensure that every person in society is treated with dignity and respect and protected from others who may abuse them. All employees and volunteers of St John’s Hospice who come into contact with patients in the course of their work have a duty of care to safeguard and promote their welfare and to work to prevent, detect and report neglect and abuse. Safeguarding training is mandatory for all members of staff who take this responsibility very seriously.

If you are concerned about someone who is a patient of St John’s Hospice or a family member of a patient known to the Hospice, you can discuss your concerns with Maddy Bass, Director of Nursing and Quality by calling 01524 382538 or email: [email protected]


If you are worried you are being abused or neglected yourself, you should:

  • not worry about making a fuss – tell someone you trust as soon as possible
  • speak to friends or care workers who may have an understanding of the situation and be able to take steps quickly to improve the situation
  • talk to professionals such as a GP or social worker about your concerns
  • call the Hourglass helpline on 0808 808 8141 for advice
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