Safeguarding Adults

Protecting vulnerable adults in Lewisham

We are committed to protecting adults at risk.

An adult at risk is defined as a person over the age of 18 years or over who is in need of care and support regardless of whether they are receiving support, and because of those needs are unable to protect themselves against abuse or neglect. The safeguarding of adults at risk is an integral part of the NHS services we plan, buy and monitor (commission) in Lewisham.

We have designated safeguarding professionals in place for safeguarding adults supporting all aspects of this work and works according to the principles laid down in the Safeguarding Vulnerable People in the NHS Accountability and Assurance Framework (2015) which outlines the roles and responsibilities of the health service. 

The Lewisham CCG Accountable Officer ensures that the responsibility to safeguard and prevention of harm to children, young people and vulnerable adults is discharged effectively across the whole health economy through Lewisham CCGs commissioning arrangements.

The six principles that underpin all safeguarding work are:

  • Empowerment Adults are encouraged to make their own decisions and are provided with support and information 
  • Prevention Strategies are developed to prevent abuse and neglect that promotes resilience and self determination 
  • Proportionate A proportionate and least intrusive response is made balanced with the level of risk 
  • Protection Adults are offered ways to protect themselves and there is a coordinated response to adult safeguarding
  • Partnership Local solutions through services working together within their communities 
  • Accountability Accountability and transparency in delivering a safeguarding response 

Safeguarding is fundamentally about managing risk surrounding the well being and safety of the individual.

Managing the balance between protecting adults at risk of self-neglect against their right to self-determination is a serious challenge for services. Working with people who are difficult to engage can be exceptionally time consuming and stressful to all concerned. However, failure to engage with people who are not looking after themselves, whether they have mental capacity or not, may have serious implications for, and a profoundly detrimental effect on, an individual’s health and well-being. It can also impact on the individual’s family and the local community. Often the cases that give rise to the most concern are those where an individual refuses help and services and is seen to be at grave risk as a result.

If an agency is satisfied that the individual has the mental capacity to make an informed choice on each of the issues raised, then that person has the right to make their own choices, even if these are considered to be unwise. But, in cases of significant vulnerability there should be on-going engagement with the individual applying the principles outlined in this policy. This includes compassionate curiosity and respectful challenge about their biography and what might be underlying their self-neglect.

Serious self-neglect is a multifaceted issue which usually encompasses a complex interplay between mental, physical, social and environmental factors. It frequently covers inter-related issues such as drug and alcohol misuse, homelessness, street working, mental health issues, criminality, anti-social behaviour, inability to access benefits and/or other health related issues.

Self-Neglect and Hoarding Policy and Procedures – April 2019

Support and advice in Lewisham

Jennifer Greaux
Self Neglect and Hoarding Policy Development Officer
Lewisham Borough Council


Adult Social Care
3rd Floor, Laurence House
1 Catford Road
London SE6 4RU


020 8314 6000 ext 40309


Anyone can report a concern about an adult. Any concerns should be reported to:

London Borough of Lewisham Social Care Advice and Information
T: 020 8314 7777 (Lines are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm)
Email:  (Lewisham Social Care and Information Team). 

In an emergency always dial 999.

You can also get advice from Fiona Mitchell at

For more information on safeguarding adults in Lewisham:

The Six Safeguarding Principles

Domestic violence

Types and indicators of abuse and neglect

The Care Act 2014

Mental Capacity, Consent and Safeguarding

Lewisham Safeguarding Adults Board

A Guide for General Practitioners

Safeguarding Training


NHS South East London CCG understands our duty to respect human rights. We are committed to identifying vulnerable adults at risk of exploitation and servitude in an effort to prevent modern day slavery (Modern Slavery Act 2015

Modern day Slavery in London – Duty to protect  For more information about modern day slavery please via

Reporting Modern Day Slavery

The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), formerly Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA), is a non-departmental public body in the United Kingdom.  If you have any suspicions of human trafficking, forced labour or worker exploitation you should report it immediately.

You can contact:

The GLAA – 0800 432 0804 or 0115 959 7032 (outside office hours)


The Police – 101, or in the case of an emergency 999

Crimestoppers – 0800 012 1700

Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Centre – 0844 778 2406