Safeguarding policies are most commonly used and apply to children and young people under the age of eighteen. The legislation was then extended to include similar standards of protection for ‘vulnerable adults’. A vulnerable adult is defined as a person age 18 or over, who either has a dependency needed from others in the performance of, or a requirement for assistance in the tasks of basic functions; a severe impairment in the ability to communicate with others; or has a reduced ability to protect themselves from harm, assault, neglect or abuse. This could be a result of a physical or learning disability, a physical or mental illness- this can include addiction to drugs or alcohol; or a reduction in physical or mental capacity for a period of time.
A Safeguarding alert can be made anyone, whether it was a member of the public, a service user, a family or friend, a support worker or a neighbour. This can be done when someone is subject to abuse, put in harm or something concerning maybe suspected it is important to act upon this immediately.