As a publicly funded body, we expect high standards from all our staff.

Our Trust, as with all other NHS bodies, has a statutory duty to ensure that we make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people, to protect adults at risk from abuse or the risk of abuse and support the Home Office Counter Terrorism strategy CONTEST, which includes a specific focus on PREVENT (preventing violent extremism/radicalisation)

Safeguarding adults

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust takes allegations of abuse against adults at risk seriously and is committed to preventing harm.  We work closely with our partner agencies e.g. Social Services, the Police, Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust, NHS Hertfordshire and the voluntary sector to protect vulnerable adults.

What to do if you are worried about an adult at risk

If someone is at risk of immediate harm, or requires medical treatment you must dial 999 for the Police and/or ambulance service. For non-emergency situations the Police can be contacted on 101.

For all other concerns telephone Health & Community Services (Social Services) on 0300 123 4042.

If you need support to raise a concern, organisations in the community can support you.

Adults potentially at risk

Anyone aged 18 years or over who may be may be unable to take care of or protect themselves because they have a:

  • physical or sensory disability
  • learning difficulties
  • mental health needs
  • frail older people.

Types of abuse or harm

Anyone could potentially cause harm to a vulnerable person. For example, relatives and family members, professional staff, paid care workers, or volunteers. Abuse is a violation of a person's right or dignity by someone else. There are many types of abuse; some are listed below:

  • Physical - including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions
  • Sexual - including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented, or was pressured into consenting.
  • Psychological - including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks
  • Financial or material - including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult's financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits
  • Neglect and acts of omission - including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate healthcare and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating
  • Discriminatory - including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion
  • Organisational - including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as hospital or care home, or in relation to care provided in one's own home. This may range from one-off incidents to on-going ill treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies and processes within an organisation
  • Domestic violence - including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse, and so called 'honour' based abuse
  • Modern slavery - encompasses 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 a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment
  • Self-neglect - this covers a wide range of behaviour, neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding

What happens when you raise a concern

The Adult Social Care team will find out as much as possible about what has happened. An investigation may be carried out and a protection plan may be put in place. Arrangements will also be made to safeguard the vulnerable adult from any future abuse.

Other people you could contact

Care Quality Commission (CQC) - if the person concerned lives in or is cared for by an agency or organisation which is registered with the CQC. The CQC may also request that Social Services investigate.

Telephone: 03000 616161

Other useful websites:

Elder abuse -


CQC - Safeguarding adults from abuse - an inter-agency procedure

Safeguarding children

Children have the right to be kept safe from harm and protecting children is everyone’s responsibility. Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) is committed to making sure that children are safe from harm. This includes supporting parents and carer’s and helping them to understand their children’s well-being and needs.

If you have any concerns about a child up to the age of 18 years or a parent or carer of a child, then please contact Social Services (Hertfordshire Children’s Services): 0300 123 4043.

If you believe a child is at serious risk of harm and requires urgent support call the police on 999.

Our safeguarding team

At Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust have a team of nurses who specialise in safeguarding children.

There is a Named Nurse for Safeguarding Children and two managers who support six Safeguarding Children Nurse Specialists and two full-time Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) nurses.

The Safeguarding Team do not work directly with children but do offer support and guidance to all front-line health workers. Where necessary, they communicate and share information with other agencies and professionals to make sure children’s needs are always placed first and to make sure children are able to meet their full potential.

If you would like to know more about how and why we are guided to share information please see the governments information sharing advice for practitioners published guidance.

Health clinicians or other professional can liaise with the Safeguarding Children team by email.

Safeguarding and our staff

Before any staff start working in Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust they have employment and reference checks to make sure they are safe to work in our organisation (this includes checks with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Our staff have to attend regular training and supervision to ensure they have the right skills and knowledge and are supported to work with children and their families.

Working together to safeguard children

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust is a member of the Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Partnership (HSCP) and follows its procedures, which reflect national guidance, such as ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ (2018) and ‘What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused’ (2015).

Support for children and their families

  • Hertfordshire Children’s Services 0300 123 4043 - offers a range of support and services for children, young people and their families
  • Hertfordshire Constabulary Police:101 (or 999 in an emergency) – Hertfordshire Constabulary is the police force responsible for policing the county of Hertfordshire
  • NSPCC Child Protection Helpline:0808 800 5000 The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, is a United Kingdom charity campaigning and working in child protection. You can also report any concerns about a child to this number.
  • Child Line: 0800 11 11 This is a free 24 hour counselling service for children and young people up to and including 18 years of age in the UK. Child Line deals with any issue which causes distress or concern to a child. This may include any abuse, neglect, bullying (cyber bullying) and sexual exploitation (this includes people who abuse children through computers or phones), or anything a child feels is worrying them
  • Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 8088088 Herts Domestic Abuse Helpline is a confidential, free, support and signposting service for anyone affected by domestic abuse