HSE Publishes National Safeguarding Office Annual Report 2018

News Release: 15th October 2019

The HSE’s National Safeguarding Office (NSO) has published its Annual Report for 2018.

2018 was a significant year for work of the NSO on adult safeguarding including a review of the HSE’s national safeguarding policy, targeted training programmes and public awareness initiatives both within the HSE and with our partner organisations; all of which have provided opportunities to highlight and address challenges in protecting vulnerable people in Irish Society.

This is the third year the HSE has published data on adult safeguarding activity within Services for Older Persons and Services for Persons with a Disability. This data represents the work undertaken by Designated Safeguarding Officers as well as direct referrals to the HSE Safeguarding and Protection Teams (SPTs) in each of the Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs).

The significant information from the figures are;

In 2018 there were 11,780 safeguarding concerns received by the HSE, representing a 14% increase on 2017.

In total there have been over 30,000 safeguarding concerns over the past 3 years- illustrating that the “No Tolerance” message has been an important plank of the HSE Adult Safeguarding policy approach.

  • 2018 saw 17,784 attendances at safeguarding training, exceeding the target by 56%.
  • The total number of institutional abuse concerns alleged has increased from 1% to 5%. Further consideration and analysis of the factors underpinning this trend will be required.
  • For persons aged 18-64, the most significant category of abuse alleged remains physical abuse at 50% followed by psychological at 31% with more males reported.
  • For persons aged over 65, the most significant category of abuse alleged is psychological abuse at 33%, physical at 26% and financial abuse at 21% with more females reported.
  • Alleged financial abuse and neglect increase with age with the highest level of reporting in those over 80 years.
  • Public Awareness Campaigns undertaken by Safeguarding  Ireland informed by research have focused on prevention, planning ahead and the need for greater conversations around abuse within society. This Annual Report highlights awareness campaigns  can  led to greater self-education and societal awareness. 
  • International research  show close to 1 in 6 older adults experience elder abuse in the community over a year. The national HSE data illustrates significant underreporting in relation to this client group. Further research is required to review the challenges older people face on recognising and reporting abuse to our service.
  • The alleged person causing concern is most likely a service user for those 18-64 years and immediate family member for those over 65 years.

The report also provides a summary of National Safeguarding Office’s key projects and developments during 2018 including:

  • Training programmes
  • Public Awareness Raising Initiatives
  • Working as a key member of Safeguarding Ireland
  • Safeguarding interagency collaborations

Sandra Tuohy, HSE Head of Operations, Services for Older People, welcomed the report and said, “The HSE and its funded agencies work together to improve care standards and ensure vulnerable people are safeguarded from abuse. It is vital that the learning from this Report informs our future planning and supports staff and the vulnerable people who use our services. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and continuing to raise awareness of these issues is key to ensuring vulnerable people are safeguarded in all settings.” 

Tim Hanly, HSE National Safeguarding Office, said, “The National Safeguarding Office Report 2018" indicates once again an increase in safeguarding concerns notified to the HSE. In the past 3 years this service has provided an intervention and oversight role in over 30,000 safeguarding concerns. Interagency collaboration and associated public awareness are central in the protection of adults at risk of abuse in Irish society. The HSE is committed to implementing an updated Adult Safeguarding Policy to ensure a culture of adult safeguarding is embedded in all HSE and HSE funded services”.



Last updated on: 15 / 10 / 2019