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Social Services Minister launches new safeguarding vulnerable adults guidance

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Social Services Minister Michael McGimpsey has today emphasised the need for organisations to develop a culture of dignity and respect for vulnerable adults.

The Minister was speaking as he launched the publication of new guidance for safeguarding vulnerable adults at Parliament Buildings.

The guidance, “Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults – A Shared Responsibility”, is targeted at organisations who work with vulnerable adults in the voluntary, community and independent sectors. It is designed to help them develop reliable safeguarding vulnerable adult policies and ultimately produce improved safeguarding outcomes for some of the most vulnerable adults in Northern Ireland.

Mr McGimpsey said: “Keeping adults safe from harm is challenging and complex. It is the responsibility of us all to embed dignity and respect for vulnerable adults in everything that we do. It requires support not just from the statutory, voluntary and independent sectors but also from families, communities and the wider public.

“Each of us needs to understand the concept of vulnerability in adulthood, to be able to recognise adult abuse and to respond to it when we suspect it may be occurring.

“This guidance, produced by Volunteer Now in conjunction with my department, will improve safeguarding outcomes for some of the most vulnerable adults in Northern Ireland by establishing standards of acceptable practice.”

The Minister explained that the guidance was part of a wider programme of work being taken forward by government to improve vulnerable adult safeguarding outcomes. Standards of practice will be established across a range of organisational activities, including the recruitment, selection, management and supervision of staff.

Notes to editors:

1. “Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults – A Shared Responsibility” was commissioned by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, and developed by Volunteer Now in association with representatives of statutory, voluntary, community and independent health care provider organisations. It sets out eight key safeguarding standards, criteria to achieve those standards and includes useful resources.

2. The guidance was commissioned in response to an increased awareness of adult abuse and an increasing number of requests for help from organisations in those sectors seeking to develop safeguarding vulnerable adult policies.

3. The Guidance document is being distributed widely. Information on how to obtain the document is available at :

4. Media enquiries to the DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 2841. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.