What happens when harm is reported?

When a council receives information that suggests an adult is not safe and possibly at risk of harm, then the council must make inquiries into the adult’s wellbeing, property or financial affairs. This simply means that the council will gather more information and check out the situation. The council can receive information from different people.

Quite often, the information/referral may come from a neighbour, carer, friend or relative, or a referral may come from another public body such as the NHS or Police. In all cases, Social Work will look into the matter in more detail.


Harm reported

What happens when a referral is received? 

A Social Worker will visit you and talk to you about your situation. They will want to know about the risks you are facing and what you would like to happen. They may suggest you talk to an advocate. An advocate is an independent person who can support you to think about options and decide for yourself. The Social Worker may suggest that a case conference is the best way to support and protect you.


What is a case conference?

A case conference is a meeting involving you and everyone who is concerned about you. The meeting will discuss:


  • the harm you are experiencing
  • who is causing it
  • what can be done to stop it
  • how to keep you safe in the future


It can be hard to talk in a room full of people, so before the meeting, your Social Worker will explain to you who will be invited and what will be discussed.

The meeting will decide if a protection plan is required. You will have the right to:


  • attend or not attend the meeting
  • agree or disagree to what is being suggested
  • have your views recorded


You will be given a copy of the decisions taken at the meeting


What is a protection plan?

A protection plan is an agreed plan of what help and support you need to keep safe from harm. You will be involved in your plan, and with your agreement, your family or friends. The plan can also involve others, for example, staff from Social Work, Housing, Police, Health and care services. Your plan will be reviewed regularly. If it is not working, or your situation changes another case conference will be arranged.

If required, the council can use its legal powers to apply for a protection order. A protection order can:


  • stop someone having contact with you
  • move you to a safer place
  • ensure you are getting the support you need


Remember, if you are finding it difficult to keep yourself safe, it is important you tell someone about it.


Adults rights

Adult protection aims to strike a balance between respecting an adult's rights to make everyday choices and taking protective action, where necessary, to keep the adult safe from harm.

The adult at risk has the right not to co-operate with the Social Worker in the course of inquiries or investigations. The adult at risk has the right to refuse to answer some or any questions and can refuse to consent to a medical examination.

You do not need the permission or consent from the adult at risk to make a referral to social work resources. 

Support provided