Almost 8,000 safeguarding concerns notified to the HSE in 2016


HSE’s National Safeguarding Office (NSO) publishes 2016 Safeguarding Data Report to coincide with

the National Safeguarding Committee’s Safeguarding Awareness campaign


Dear Colleagues

The HSE’s National Safeguarding Office (NSO) has published its first year of data collection on safeguarding concerns reported to the Safeguarding and Protection Teams (SPTs) in each of the HSE’s nine community healthcare organisations (CHOs). These teams were established within the Social Care Division following the publication of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons at Risk of Abuse National Policy and Procedures (2014).

The full data report is available on line on the HSE website at:    HSE National Safeguarding Office 2016 Safeguarding Data

NSO 2016 Safeguarding Data – some key findings:

In 2016 there was a total of 7,884 safeguarding concerns managed by the HSE Safeguarding Teams (SPTs); 4,749 relate to adults aged 18-64 years, 3,029 relate to adults over 65 years and, of these, 1,221 were over 80 years.

For those aged 18-64 the three main alleged abuse categories were physical 48%, psychological 24% and sexual 11%. While for those over 65 alleged psychological 27%, physical and financial 22% abuse were the dominant categories. Key trends emerging included:

  • Alleged physical abuse is highest for males aged 18-64
  • Alleged sexual abuse is highest in females 18-64 but also represents an issue for younger males
  • Alleged financial abuse highest for males across all age categories with the highest level in those over 80 years
  • Alleged neglect increases with age with the highest level reported in females over 80s
  • Where alleged institutional abuse was reported it was highest in younger males
  • Training is core component of the work of both the National Safeguarding Office and indeed the SPTs and facilitators across the public voluntary and private sector. In total there were 13,499 people trained in 2016, far exceeding the 8000 target set.


Any questions about the 2016 Safeguarding Data Report can be sent to the National Safeguarding Office on


National Safeguarding Committee (NSC) Awareness campaign:

The publication of the safeguarding data coincides with the National Safeguarding Committee’s awareness campaign.

The work of the NSC, of which the HSE is a member, is strengthening how agencies collectively work together to ensure that those most vulnerable in Irish society are safeguarded from neglect or abuse. The NSC Safeguarding Awareness campaign will run during June and September to highlight the issue of abuse of vulnerable adults with disabilities and older people. It is hoped this campaign will generate active conversations within families, communities and workplace on the topic. Full details of the awareness campaign at:

If you have a concern:

Whilst most people do not experience abuse, for those that do it can manifest in different ways. Abuse can take place in any context; it may occur if a person lives alone or with a relative, it may occur within residential or day care settings, in hospitals, home support services and other places assumed to be safe, or in public places.  Staff, families, home helps, Gardai and GPs all represent key groups engaging with the Safeguarding and Protections Teams, illustrating that safeguarding is everybody’s business.

If a person is being abused, or if someone is concerned about abuse or suspect that someone they know is being abused, they can contact a health professional such as GP, public health nurse or social worker in a safeguarding team. A full list of the HSE SPT teams can be found at:

If the concern is about a residential within a residential care setting concerns can be raised with the Designated Officer within the service or with the HSE’s Confidential Recipient, Leigh Gath. Ms Gath was appointed by the HSE to receive concerns and allegations of abuse, negligence, mistreatment or poor care practices in HSE or HSE funded residential care facilities in good faith from patients, service users, families, other concerned individuals and staff members.  Contact details: Low Call 1890 -100014 or email:

All safeguarding concerns are treated in confidence and, as much as possible, handled in a way that respects the wishes of the person at risk. The service is focused on the client, aimed at the safety and well-being of the person at risk while providing support to stop the abusive behaviour.

Tim Hanly

General Manager

National Safeguarding Office (NSO)