Last week was safeguarding awareness week and agencies across the Cumbria supported a national initiative highlighting the work done to safeguard adults who may be at risk of abuse or neglect.

Safeguarding Adults Week aims to raise awareness of how people can raise a safeguarding concern and access the support they or the person they have concerns for may need.

In Cumbria, agencies focused on the following in line with the Ann Craft Trust themes:

The term "County Lines" is used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs to areas in the UK using a dedicated mobile phone line. The National County Lines Co-ordination Centre has produced a short 10 minute video which describes how County Lines work and explores how this can impact on children, vulnerable adults and wider society. The video also identifies how you can play your part in identifying and reporting. 

  • County lines describes an organised crime group (OCG) which traffics drugs using dedicated mobile phone lines.
  • Drug users ring a number to place orders - and local street dealers deliver.
  • OCGs may exploit children and vulnerable adults, using them to move and store drugs and cash traveling across areas.

Our officers are catching and bringing before the courts those involved, with many offenders receiving long prison spells.

What's happening in Cumbria?

County lines drug dealing is an issue that agencies across the UK, including here in Cumbria, are continuously working on to protect communities.

Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board have published a A Quick Guide to...County Lines

Temporary Detective Superintendent Dave Cooper, Cumbria Constabulary’s Crime Command, said:

“We work all-year round to tackle county line by enforcement but also, together with our community partners through engagement, prevention, and diversion.

“We are committed to dismantling these criminal networks and to protecting the young and vulnerable people who are exploited by gangs and are subject to violence, fear, and intimidation.

“County lines is exploitative drug supply and is devastating to local communities, well beyond those who are directly involved in the local drugs scene.

“Information from people in our communities can play a crucial role in our efforts to identify county line activity and safeguard vulnerable people who are being exploited or are at risk.

“The fact file we have provided includes helpful information and signs to look out for. Please consider this and if you do see something that does not feel right, please get in touch so we can investigate.

“We have a track record of putting such crime groups before the courts and the subsequent significant sentences have seen many lines and set-ups dismantled or disrupted.”   

Spot the signs of County Lines

Signs of County Lines on your street;

  • Lots of different and regular visitors to a house on your street.
  • Increase in obvious drug-related activity.

Signs of County Lines in adults at risk;

  • Regular visitors to their home.
  • New, unexplained visitors or support network.
  • Becoming cut-off or estranged from family or existing friends or support network.
  • New risk-taking behaviour.

Substance abuse.

What is Cuckooing?

‘Cuckooing’ is a form of criminal exploitation and the term used when criminals use or takes over a person's home for criminal purposes, usually as a site to supply, store or produce drugs from.  
OCGs may initially approach the vulnerable person offering free drugs or other things they may need; however, this may progress to threats of violence, and/or the victim being made to pay off drug debts through use of their home, and to assist in drug dealing.
Victims may be forced to stay in their bedroom or are prevented from freely using rooms in their home such as their kitchen or living room. They are usually intimidated and left with little choice but to cooperate. Sexual assaults or other exploitation may also take place.  

Tricky Friends is an animation aimed at groups or professionals working with adults who have learning disabilities to support them to understand what good friends look like and to help prevent them from being exploited.

More information from Ann Craft Trust....

Ann Craft have provide resources for the daily themes during National Safeguarding Adults Week, see below;

How to report County Lines?

  • If a crime is in progress, call 999.
  • You can report information online at
  • You can speak to a police officer or PCSO operating in your community.
  • You can call police on 101.
  • If you wish to report information anonymously, you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.  

Concerned about an adult?

If you are concerned that an adult is being abused or at risk you should report it by contacting Adult Social Care, Cumbria County Council.

If you have concerns about a child please call 0333 240 17 27

Get in touch!

For more information please contact us:

Twitter: @cumbriasab

What is Self Neglect?

The term “self-neglect” covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings. Examples include: a refusal or inability to cater for basic needs, including personal hygiene and appropriate clothing, neglecting to seek assistance for medical issues. Or not attending to living conditions, letting rubbish accumulate in the garden, or dirt to accumulate in the house.

Self-neglect can result from any mental or physical illness that has an effect on the person’s physical abilities, energy levels, attention, organisational skills, or motivation. Self-neglect can fall into two broad categories: intentional or active; and non-intentional or passive.

In intentional self-neglect, a person makes a conscious choice to engage in self-neglect. For example, they may actively refuse to visit a doctor when they’re feeling unwell.  

Passive Self-Neglect can occur when health-related conditions contribute to a risk of developing self-neglect. For example, a person with a learning disability may have lapses in concentration that may make them forget to attend to their personal hygiene.

Self-Neglect and Safeguarding

If a local authority believes an adult is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect they are required to make enquiries. This enquiry should establish whether any action needs to be taken to prevent or stop abuse or neglect.

Whether or not a response is required will depend on the adult’s ability to protect themselves by controlling their own behaviour. There may come a point when they are no longer able to do this, without external support.

Treatment for self-neglect can include addressing the underlying cause of the condition, whether this is depression or a more severe learning disability. Home care is another good solution for self-neglect cases. Carers can attend to cleaning, dressing, or feeding the individual in a way that does not interfere with their independence or autonomy.

Resources and Guidance

Self-neglect has featured in a significant proportion of Safeguarding Adult Reviews (SARs) completed across the country following the death of an adult with care and support needs. These reviews illustrate the complexity of practice with adults who self-neglect.

Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board have published guidance and resources for practitioners working with adults who are at risk of self neglect;

Click here to watch the recording of a CSAB self neglect lunch and learn session.

You can read our Self-Neglect guidance here and recently published Hoarding Framework and Toolkit and a Clutter Image Rating Tool for practitioners use when working with adults who hoard.

Further information from the Ann Craft Trust

Ann Craft have provided resources for the daily themes during National Safeguarding Adults Week, see below;

Read our blog ‘What is Self-Neglect?’

A brief introduction to Self-Neglect from The Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Elsie’s Story – a short Self-Neglect case study.  

Concerned about an Adult?

If you are concerned that an adult is being abused or at risk you should report it by contacting Adult Social Care, Cumbria County Council.

If you have concerns about a child please call 0333 240 17 27

Get in touch! 

For more information please contact us:
Twitter: @cumbriasab

Creating Safer Organisational Cultures

The foundations of a safer culture are to:

An environment where everyone is confident their concerns are welcomed, listened to and addressed appropriately.

Where organisations encourage continuous learning and reflection at all levels. Applying this to improve and adapt.

Organisations should lead by example to empower everyone with the confidence to challenge and instigate change.

To read more about the values underpinning a safer culture click here 

Safeguarding is Everyone’s Responsibility

As part of Safeguarding Adults Week, Ann Craft Trust have developed a range of case studies to raise awareness about the different types of harm and abuse. The case studies will facilitate conversations about safeguarding practice and increase people’s confidence about their role in safeguarding. This in turn will help contribute to safer cultures in all settings.  

Recognising abuse is important. Acting on concerns is vital. 

There are 10 types of harm, and as part of your duty of care, you should learn to recognise the signs of abuse. If you have any concerns, you should record them, and report them to the appropriate person, authority, or organisation. 

If you are concerned about an adult at risk of abuse or neglect in Cumbria please report it to Adult Social Care here

Introducing…. Declan, Safeguarding Social Worker

Declan Frew a Social Worker working in the Safeguarding Team, Adult Social Care describes the role of the team and duty on the local authority to make safeguarding enquiries.  Do you know what the principles of safeguarding are? What the types of abuse and neglect are and how to report them?  Watch here to find out more

Creating a Safeguarding Culture in Care Homes

The NICE guideline, safeguarding adults in care homes, aims to increase awareness of safeguarding amongst staff working in care homes and ensure any concerns are reported appropriately. It also includes practical advice for residents, family, friends or professionals who may visit adults in care homes. 

Safer Recruitment to create Safer Cultures

Listen to this Safeguarding Matters podcast to hear about how safer recruitment can help to create safer cultures.

Further information....

Creating safer cultures also relies on practitioners being respectfully nosey!  In collaboration with Cumbria Safeguarding Children's Partnership and Safer Cumbria we have published A Quick Guide to.....Professional Curiosity and Practitioner Guidance.

If you have concerns about a Person in Position of Trust (PiPoT) please refer to the multi-agency guidance.

In today’s 5 minute briefing:

  • Know the signs: Signs of Elder Abuse you need to be aware of
  • Speak up: How to raise a safeguarding concern – remind yourself of the process

Training: book your place on a Victim Support Domestic Abuse of Older Adults course and keep your practice up to date

What is Elder Abuse?

The abuse of older people, also known as elder abuse, is a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person. This type of violence constitutes a violation of human rights and includes physical, sexual, psychological and emotional abuse; financial and material abuse; abandonment; neglect; and serious loss of dignity and respect.

The World Health Organisation reports that rates of elder abuse rose during lockdown. The Ann Craft Trust estimate around one in six people aged 60 and over experience some form of abuse in a community setting. Click here to read more...

Neglect is also a form of abuse.  Failing to provide the care and support needed by an older person is considered neglect.

Do you know HOW and WHEN to make a safeguarding referral?

Abuse or neglect must never be ignored and always be reported.

Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board have developed A Quick Guide to Making a Safeguarding Adults Referral which outlines the WHEN and HOW to make a safeguarding referral.  You can also visit the CSAB website where you will also find other guidance and information for your practice.

Safeguarding Adults referrals will be accepted from anyone who has a concern that an adult with care and support needs is at risk of abuse or neglect.

If you are concerned that an adult is being abused or at risk you should report it by contacting Adult Social Care, Cumbria County Council.

Remember, if a crime has been committed, you must both report this as a safeguarding concern and report this to the police:

  • In an emergency telephone 999

If the person is not in immediate danger telephone 101  

Domestic Abuse of Older Adults: training opportunity

Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board are pleased to be working in collaboration with Victim Support Cumbria to provide training in respect of older people suffering domestic abuse.  The training is open to all partner agencies, 3rd sector organisations and providers who support older adults who may be at risk of domestic abuse.

For more information, dates and how to book click here


Hourglass are the only UK wide charity that’s calling time on the harm, abuse and exploitation of older people Every year, more than a million older people are physically, emotionally, financially or sexually abused in the UK.  Sadly, the abuse of older people is not a new issue, but one that has now reached a critical threshold that can no longer be ignored, nor tolerated. Click for resources outlining the different types of abuse and how to get in touch.  

Age UK Safeguarding Resources

Regardless of our age, we should be able to live safely. Sometimes though you may feel at risk, or be concerned about another person. If this happens there are people you can speak to and there is help available. Click here for further information on protecting yourself and loved ones from elderly abuse.  

Get in touch!

For more information please contact us:
Twitter: @cumbriasab

Welcome to our last briefing of the week which will focus on Safeguarding being everyone’s responsibility. Safeguarding is about protecting adults with care and support needs from abuse, neglect and exploitation.

There are safeguarding measures designed to protect the health, wellbeing and human rights of individuals. These measures allow children, young people and adults at risk to live free from abuse, harm and neglect.

Every organisation, small group and individual should be aware of the signs to look for that someone may be at risk and what to do if we are concerned.  Watch this video from the Ann Craft Trust which explains the different types of abuse and what they can look like.

In Cumbria we have a Safeguarding Adults’ Board (CSAB) made up of partners from our local councils, health, police and other agencies who work together to protect adults at risk of abuse or neglect.  North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust are a partner of Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board and deliver the NHS services in North Cumbria  hospitals and community services.  As part of normal routine enquiries staff now ask patients, in a confidential manner, how safe they feel.

You can read more here about the work NCIC are doing to ensure patients feel safe and are free from abuse or neglect.

What is abuse or neglect?

Abuse varies, some can be more obvious such as sexual abuse, physical abuse and sexual exploitation or can be more subtle – such as psychological abuse, financial abuse, neglect and self neglect. 

Physical abuse: It could be being hit, smacked or restrained against their will. It might not be the physical act it could just be the threat of that. It can also include where people are using chemicals to force people into situations. It is anything that forcing somebody using external pressure on them.

Sexual abuse: this could be inappropriate touching, rape, forcing someone to watch pornography, indecent exposure, or where someone isn’t able to consent to certain acts.

Domestic abuse: Where one person living with another and one person is clearly abusing the other person. It could be in the form of physical, sexual or psychological abuse or any range of the other abuse. It is where someone is targeting someone else in their own household.

Emotional or psychological abuse: could be threats of harm, abandonments. Refusal to let people see their friends or family. Degrading people humiliating people, not letting someone have their opinion.

Neglect is a failure to look after someone as you ought to be. Not giving them access to things they need such as food, water, medicines, access to the toilet.

Self neglect: Can be someone deliberately harming themselves but also when someone starts to stop looking after themselves – like not washing or choosing to buy video games instead of food.

Organisational abuse is about poor practice within an organisation. It may be neglect, failure to meet needs or any kind of abuse. It is abuse that takes place within an organisational setting

Financial and material abuse is when people have property stolen from them – that can be anything from money to a special toy that someone may use for comfort.

Discriminatory abuse is abuse on the basis – or perceived basis – of someone’s protected characteristic.

Modern slavery could include undertaking work for which there is no financial reward and whereby someone is not free to leave their conditions of work.

Further information & resources from CSAB

Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board have the following resources on their website:  

  • A Quick Guide to.... Making a Safeguarding Referral
  • What is Safeguarding? Declan Frew a Safeguarding Social Worker shares a short video to outline what safeguarding is, the legislative framework, how to recognise and report concerns.
  • What is CSAB?  Communications Leads from across the partnership have worked together to produce a short animated video which aims to raise awareness of safeguarding, types of abuse and neglect and what to do if you are worried about a person.

Further information from Ann Craft Trust

Ann Craft have provide resources for the daily themes during National Safeguarding Adults Week, see below;

If you have concerns about a child please call 0333 240 17 27

Get in touch!

For more information please contact us:
Twitter: @cumbriasab