Skip main navigation


You might hear care staff talk about ‘safeguarding’, which is the term used to describe how social care staff try to protect vulnerable people from harm, abuse or exploitation.

Social care staff play a vital role in identifying harm, abuse or exploitation and early action can help to protect vulnerable people who are being, or are at risk of being, hurt.

This can include:

  • Helping people understand online safety
  • Identifying signs and symptoms of possible abuse, such as unexplained bruising, withdrawn behaviour, sudden increased wealth or new/expensive possessions or self-harm. Any concerns must to be noted and reported to a manager straight away
  • Identifying and reporting concerns about possible exploitation such as financial or sexual exploitation.

Social care workers receive training on:

  • Identifying signs and symptoms of harm, abuse and exploitation
  • Actions to take if they know, or suspect, a person is at risk
  • How to support an individual keep themselves safe
  • How to support an individual who has been harmed, abused or exploited
  • The law and national requirements relating to harm, abuse and exploitation.

Over to you…

Consider the following questions and share your thinking with others in the Comments.

  • What might make you think someone was being harmed or abused?
  • What actions do you think you might need to take?
  • What should you not do?

Important: Please don’t disclose any personal, confidential or sensitive information about yourself or others, and be respectful and compassionate in any responses to your follow learners.

This article is from the free online

Step into Social Care

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now