Non-urgent advice: What to do in a safeguarding emergency

If someone is in immediate danger, or there is an emergency, call 999.

What is safeguarding?

Everybody has the right to live their lives in safety, free from abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation. By everybody, we mean babies, children, young people and adults.

People who work in healthcare have a duty to protect people from harm and promote wellbeing. This duty is described in legislation such as the Care Act 2014 and the Children Act 1989 and amended in the Children Act 2004

There are 3 statutory partnerships to ensure the safeguarding of our population. These partnerships are

  1. Cornwall’s Safeguarding Adult’s Board
  2. Safer Cornwall
  3. Our Safeguarding Children Partnership

We work with our statutory partners and providers to safeguard everyone from harm, promoting the safety and wellbeing of adults and children who are at risk of abuse and neglect. We ensure our organisation and provider organisations have effective policies and procedure and monitor they are meeting the required standards.

Contact us about safeguarding.

Safeguarding adults

Safeguarding is defined as the protection of a person’s health, wellbeing, and right to live in safety, free from harm, abuse, and neglect. Whenever possible we should all listen to and respect the person’s voice and choice.

Non-urgent advice: How to make a referral

If you are an adult experiencing abuse or neglect, or if you are concerned about someone else, please contact the relevant below numbers.

For Cornwall, call 0300 1234 131 or email Cornwall Council’s access team. Out of hours call 01208 251300.

For the Isles of Scilly, contact the Council of the Isles of Scilly adult social care department on 0300 1234 105. Out of hours, call 01720 422699.

If you are referring for someone else, and you are not putting yourself or anyone else at risk then please gain consent from the person you are concerned about.

Help and information

Safeguarding adult policy

The adult safeguarding policy provides information on the different types of abuse and how to respond to abuse.

Safeguarding Adult Reviews

Safeguarding children

Safeguarding children is defined in Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018 as:

  • ensuring that children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care
  • preventing impairment of children’s health or development
  • protecting children from maltreatment
  • taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

Safeguarding is a wider definition of ensuring a child’s safety than child protection alone. There is criteria for when a case should be referred to children’s social care for assessment and for statutory services under the following sections of the Children Act 1989:

  • 17, children in need
  • 47, reasonable cause to suspect a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm
  • 31, care and supervision orders
  • 20, duty to accommodate a child

Non-urgent advice: How to make a referral

Anyone who has concerns about a child’s welfare should make a referral to children’s social care. They should do so immediately if there is a concern that the child is suffering significant harm or is likely to do so. Practitioners who make a referral should always follow up their concerns in writing and escalate if they are not satisfied with the response.

To make a child protection referral, contact the multi-agency referral unit.

For more information about safeguarding children, visit the south west child protection procedures website.

Domestic abuse

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 defines domestic abuse as: “anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse regardless of gender, age or background”.

The effects of domestic abuse on children can be both short and long term. Find out what the Domestic Abuse Act means for people who experience domestic abuse.

Non-urgent advice: How to make a referral

If you, or someone you know, is in danger or an emergency call 999.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, contact Safer Futures for support. Call 0300 777 4777 or make an online referral. The helpline is open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Out of hours, email the Safer Futures team or call the national domestic abuse helpline on 0808 200 0247.

National help and advice

  • Mankind for men who are victims of domestic abuse.
  • Galop for people who identify as LGBT+.


Reporting possible extremist or terrorist activity can save lives.

Prevent is about recognising and supporting people who may be at risk of being drawn into terrorist activities. A number of specified organisations have a duty do to this. This includes organisations providing healthcare. More information is available in the Prevent duty guidance.

If someone you know is at risk of being radicalised, early support can be discussed and arranged by a channel panel. This is a panel of different relevant professionals who experienced in assessing and engaging services to support people.

Non-urgent advice: How to make a referral

If you need to make a referral, contact Devon and Cornwall Police online or call 101. You can also get confidential advice from the national Prevent help line 0800 011 3764. The advice line is open 9am to 5pm every day.

Help and support

Hate crime

Crimes committed against someone because of their disability, transgender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation are hate crimes and should be reported to the police.

Reporting hate crime

In an emergency, call 999. If it’s not an emergency, call 101. You can also report hate crime online.

Visit the police hate crime website for more information.

Page last reviewed: 5 July 2023

Alert: Industrial action

Industrial action by some consultants (senior doctors) and junior doctors is expected to take place this week. See our news article for more information.

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