What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding means protecting people’s health, wellbeing, and human rights, and enabling them to live away from harm, abuse, and neglect. It’s fundamental to high-quality health and social care.
Young Healthwatch volunteer speaking outside to an elderly woman

Safeguarding adults who are at risk

Lewisham Council works with organisations in the borough to ensure that vulnerable adults live a life without fear, are treated with respect, and are not forced to do anything against their will.

What makes an adult vulnerable?

A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm or exploitation.

Adults may be vulnerable due to old age/frailty, mental health problems, learning or physical disabilities.

What is abuse?

Abuse is the violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons.

Abuse may consist of single or repeated acts.

Abuse can happen anywhere: in the vulnerable person’s own home, out in the street, or in their care home or hospital.

For further information on the types of abuse, signs of abuse to look out for, and what happens when abuse is reported, click here.

How to report abuse of adults

Remember, you have a responsibility to report abuse if you suspect something is not right. 

In an emergency

Contact emergency services by dialling 999. If the abuse is a crime, you should contact the police.

During opening hours

Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Adult Social Care Advice & Information Team

020 8314 7777


"Safeguarding is everyone's business"

For more information, visit the Lewisham Council website.

Safeguarding children

Lewisham Council provide services that protect, care for, and support the most vulnerable children and young people in the borough.

Who can get support?

Most children and young people’s needs will be met through universal services, for example by schools, youth services, GP surgeries as well as from support within the family.

A small number of children and young people require specialist support from children’s safeguarding and social care.

This will include children and young people who are suffering, or are likely to suffer, significant harm and those whose development will be significantly impaired without the provision of services.

Referrals to children’s social care

The Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) provides a single point of access to advice, information and support services for professionals working with vulnerable and at-risk children and young people.

What does the MASH do?

If you are concerned about a child who has additional needs that are not being met by services currently involved with the family, the MASH will respond to requests for advice and support. The MASH also responds to child protection concerns for children at risk of significant harm.

Contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

In an emergency

If you have concerns about the welfare of a child outside opening hours, please contact the emergency duty team and ask to speak to the out-of-hours duty social worker:

During opening hours

Monday - Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


"Safeguarding is everyone's business"

For further information, visit the Lewisham Council website.