March 28, 2018:

Reports of abuse of residents in a number centres for people with disability highlight the need for adult safeguarding legislation, the National Safeguarding Committee said today.

The National Safeguarding Committee is a multi-agency forum aimed at promoting awareness of abuse, harm and exploitation of adults who may be vulnerable.

Chairperson of the National Safeguarding Committee, Patricia Rickard-Clarke said: “Unfortunately, the abuse of vulnerable adults is widespread as the alleged mistreatment of residents in a number of disability centres has highlighted recently.”

“A Red C poll conducted for the National Safeguarding Committee found that half of all Irish adults have experienced the abuse of vulnerable adults either through being abused themselves or seeing somebody close to them abused.

“Almost 7,900 safeguarding concerns were reported to the HSE Safeguarding and Protection Teams in 2016, with a high level of concerns coming from the disability sector. This is likely to be the tip of the iceberg as many safeguarding incidents go unreported.

“The National Safeguarding Committee welcomes that Ireland has recently ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). However, Article 16 of the Convention commits State Parties to take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social, educational and other measures to protect persons with disabilities, both within and outside the home, from all forms of exploitation, violence and abuse.

“In order to achieve this commitment and given the prevalence of adult abuse and exploitation, there is an urgent need for the introduction of adult safeguarding legislation.

“The aim of adult safeguarding legislation should be to legislate for State agencies’ responsibilities to prevent harm and protect adults who may be vulnerable from abuse. Adults with intellectual disability are particularly vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, and we all have a duty to protect them,” she concluded.

Further information

Ronan Cavanagh, Cavanagh Communications. (086) 317 9731 /

Notes for the Editor

The National Safeguarding Committee was established in December 2015 and  brings together key players in public services, legal and financial services, the health and social care professions, regulatory authorities and NGOs representing older people, people with disabilities and carers.