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What does safeguarding mean?

Safeguarding means keeping people safe from harm, abuse and/or neglect.

As part of our safeguarding, we:

  • Help raise public awareness so that our local communities understand their part in preventing, identifying and responding to abuse and/or neglect
  • Provide information to help people understand the different types of abuse
  • Inform residents how to raise a concern about the safety or wellbeing of a vulnerable adult or child.

Full details about our approach to safeguarding can be found in our Safeguarding policies:

Read our Safeguarding Policies 

What is abuse?

There are many different types of abuse or neglect that a person may experience. Not each case will be the same and people will experience abuse differently.  

Including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, misuse of restraint, or inappropriate behaviour.

Including rape and sexual assault, or sexual acts to which the person has not consented, or could not consent, or where pressure was applied to secure their consent.

Including verbal abuse, psychological abuse, threats, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.

Including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property, inheritance, financial transactions, the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse and so called 'honour' based violence.

Including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, food, drink and heating.

Covers a wide range of behaviour including neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and behaviour such as hoarding.

Including racist or sexist remarks or comments based on a person's impairment, disability, age or illness, gender reassignment, sex and sexual preferences, religious beliefs/domination, race, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatments.

Involves the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to vulnerable people.

It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour that amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and stereotyping.

It includes a failure to ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to protect vulnerable adults and maintain good standards of care in accordance with individual needs, including training of staff, supervision and management, record keeping and liaising with other care providers.

Involves using the internet and mobile technologies with the intention of bullying or threatening another person with the possible intention of harm.

Happens when someone is faking a friendship in order to take advantage of a vulnerable person.

Mate crime is committed by someone known to the person. They might’ve known them for a long time or met recently.

A 'mate' may be a 'friend', family member, supporter, paid staff or another person with a disability.

Is defined as any crime that is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be racist, homophobic or due to a person's religion, belief, gender identity or disability.

It should be noted that this definition is based on the perception of the victim or anyone else and is not reliant on evidence.

Encompassing slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.

Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

Read our Modern slavery statement

Is a crime or incident, which has or may have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.

It is a collection of practices, which are used to control behaviour within families or other social groups to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour.

Such violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/ or community by breaking their honour code.

Is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties are married without their consent or against their will. A forced marriage differs from an arranged marriage, in which both parties consent to the assistance of their parents or a third party in identifying a spouse. Forced marriage can be a particular risk for people with learning difficulties and people lacking capacity.

Involves procedures that include the partial or total removal of the external female genital organs for cultural or other non-therapeutic reasons.

The practice is medically unnecessary, extremely painful and has serious health consequences, both at the time when the mutilation is carried out and in later life.

The age at which girls undergo FGM varies enormously according to the community. The procedure may be carried out when the girl is new-born, during childhood or adolescence, just before marriage or during the first pregnancy.

FGM constitutes a form of child abuse and violence against women and girls and has severe physical and psychological consequences. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the practice is illegal under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003.

Involves the exploitation of susceptible people who are drawn into violent extremism by radicalisers.

Violent extremists often use a persuasive rationale and charismatic individuals to attract people to their cause.

The aim is to attract people to their reasoning, inspire new recruits and embed their extreme views and persuade vulnerable individuals of the legitimacy of their cause.

The Prevent Strategy, launched in 2007, seeks to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.

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I think someone is at risk, what should I do?

If you’re concerned about something you’ve seen or heard relating to a Southern Housing resident and you believe they may be a victim of abuse or neglect, you can do the following:

  • If the person is in immediate danger, call the most appropriate emergency service on 999
  • Report your safeguarding concern to Southern Housing
  • Contact your local authority’s safeguarding department via
  • If safe and appropriate to do so, ask the person if you can help them to get support
  • If your concern is about the welfare of a child, you can contact the NSPCC

Report a safeguarding concern

Anyone raising a safeguarding concern will be taken seriously and we’ll act promptly and appropriately. The information we receive will be treated confidentially and shared securely with relevant professionals and agencies.