The National Safeguarding Committee

The National Safeguarding Committee (NSC) is a multi-agency and inter-sectoral body involving more than 20 organisations with one objective in mind – to ensure that adults who may be vulnerable are safeguarded.

Following are some useful resources on safeguarding.

National Safeguarding Committee (2017) – Red C Survey

 A baseline nationwide public opinion survey on abuse of vulnerable persons commissioned by the National Safeguarding Committee and carried out by Red C.

The results of the survey were launched in April 2017 and showed that:

  • 1 in 2 Irish adults claim experience of vulnerable adult abuse to either themselves (as a vulnerable adult) or somebody close to them.
  • Physical abuse of vulnerable adults has been witnessed/suspected by 1 in 3 adults in the population; this is highest within peoples’ private dwellings.
  • Emotional abuse is the most common of all the abuse types with over 1 in 3 having experienced this type of abuse. Given the doubt surrounding what this type of abuse comprises of, more education is required.
  • Although the majority of Irish adults (61%) feel that vulnerable adults are well protected in Irish society, however just under 2 in 5 (38%) think that they are badly treated.
  • This coupled with the 1 in 3 who believe vulnerable adult abuse to be widespread, suggests the public believe there is a problem around safeguarding those who are limited in their ability to protect themselves.
  • Uncertainty around what constitutes emotional and financial abuse is identified as an issue which needs to be addressed in order to further protect vulnerable adults in the State.
  • Lack of clarity regarding the point of contact for reporting vulnerable adult maltreatment is recognised by 1 in 3, with those under 35 years significantly less likely to feel they know the appropriate avenue.
  • Building awareness of this contact route is important, especially given that 18-24 year olds are significantly more likely to claim experience of abuse of a vulnerable adult (either themselves or someone close to them).

National Safeguarding Committee (2016) – Strategic Plan 2017-2021


HSE and UCD National Centre for the Protection of Older People (2012) – Older People’s Experiences of Mistreatment and Abuse


Irish Council of Civil Liberties (2016) – Know Your Rights: A Guide for Older People


Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland (2014) – Protecting our Older People in Northern Ireland: A Call for Adult Safeguarding Legislation in Northern Ireland


Some Useful Definitions


Any act, or failure to act, which results in a breach of a vulnerable person’s human rights, civil liberties, physical and mental integrity, dignity or general wellbeing, whether intended or through negligence, including sexual relationships or financial transactions to which the person does not or cannot validly consent, or which are deliberately exploitative. Abuse may take a variety of forms.


Safeguarding means protecting people’s health, wellbeing and human rights, and enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. It is fundamental to high-quality health and social care.


Vulnerability is the diminished capacity of an individual or group to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of a natural or man-made hazard. Vulnerability is most often associated with poverty but it can also arise when people are isolated, insecure and defenceless in the face of risk, shock or stress. People differ in their exposure to risk as a result of their social group, gender, ethnic or other identity, age and other factors.