November 10th, 2020:

Protection Order powers should be extended to HSE Safeguarding Teams

Safeguarding Ireland has today called for strengthened safeguarding measures, including authority for the HSE to make Protection Order applications on behalf of vulnerable people.

The call comes following today’s announcement of the 2019 Annual Report of the HSE National Safeguarding Office (NSO) which reported a marginal increase of 1% in the number of reported safeguarding concerns to 11,929, as compared to 2018.

The Report found that for under 65s the most significant category of alleged abuse remained physical followed by psychological. For over 65s the most significant categories were psychological, physical and financial abuse. Alleged financial abuse and neglect increased with age with the highest level reported in the over 80s.

Safeguarding Ireland Chairperson Patricia Rickard-Clarke welcomed the NSO report as an important part of adult safeguarding, and encouraged a further strengthening of different safeguarding measures.

“Safeguarding Ireland welcomes the 2019 report and work of the HSE Safeguarding and Protection Teams. However, recent RED C research commissioned by Safeguarding Ireland found that 12% of adults had experienced adult abuse since the start of COVID-19 and one third reported ever experiencing abuse.

“The data suggests that the actual level of abuse is much higher than what is reported to the HSE Teams. We therefore need to greatly speed up the enactment of adult safeguarding legislation, strengthen the powers of the National Safeguarding Office Teams, and work towards establishing a National Safeguarding Authority.”

“During COVID-19 domestic violence has been a difficulty for many people. The Domestic Violence Act should be extended so that it is not limited to persons who are in an intimate relationship, but includes the coercive control by another regardless of the relationship. The Act should also be amended to empower HSE safeguarding social workers to have authority to make applications directly to court for Protection Orders on behalf of vulnerable adults.”

In conclusion Ms. Rickard-Clarke said that Safeguarding Ireland’s message during COVID-19 for vulnerable adults is to “keep your independence and keep making your own decisions as much as you can, while keeping safe. Ask for help when you want it and only from trusted people”.

More information at View an accompanying information video on adult safeguarding produced by the HSE:

Further Information

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

Safeguarding Ireland

Safeguarding Ireland promotes safeguarding of vulnerable adults to protect them from all forms of abuse by persons, organisations and institutions and to deliver a national plan for promoting their welfare.