Topic outline

  • Safeguarding information for learners

           Safeguarding and You

    Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility. We all need to be aware of our responsibility.

    If something doesn’t seem right, report it.

    If you are a learner with SAL and have any questions on Safeguarding including Prevent e.g. different types of abuse; possible signs of abuse or how to report your concerns, contact one of our SAL safeguarding team.  If you are not currently learning with us, please contact the Surrey Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) with any concern you may have.  Contact details below.

    Adult Grooming

    People can experience grooming and exploitation at any age and in a wide range of contexts e.g. financial scams, sexual abuse and radicalisation where the groomer is working to win their victim over to their cause. It is usually a gradual process with the abuser building up trust first, often befriending their target. The actual abuse doesn’t happen until much later. It can happen in person or online. Often the victim doesn’t feel like they need help.

    Emotional Abuse and Safeguarding Mental Health

    Emotional abuse can have a devastating impact on mental as well as physical health. To have safer cultures, we need to prioritise wellbeing, and create a culture where people can speak out, be listened to and respected. At an individual level focus on the importance of wellbeing and self-care.

    Digital Safeguarding

    Over the past 18 months most of us have spent more time online. Digital safeguarding is taking steps to stay safe online. It is better to prevent abuse from happening in the first place than it is to respond to abuse.

    When people use digital services to abuse or harass others, it is cyber bullying. There are seven typical ways a victim may be bullied online:

    • Harassment– repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages.
    • Denigration – sharing information about another person that is fake, damaging and untrue with the purpose to ridicule them.
    • Flaming– purposely using extreme and offensive language to cause reactions of distress in the victim.
    • Impersonation– hacking into someone’s email or social networking account to use their online identity to post vicious or embarrassing material.
    • Outing and Trickery– sharing personal information about another or tricking them into revealing secrets and forwarding it to others.
    • Cyber Stalking – repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm, harassment or intimidating messagesThis may be illegal.
    • Exclusion – intentionally leaving someone out of group messages, online apps, gaming sites and other online engagement.

    Adults with learning disabilities may be more at risk of cyber bullying. This could be because they are more trusting, unaware to the fact that they are being bullied, or simply because are seen as easy targets to torment.

    A particular issue related to cyber bullying is grooming online. One of the most sinister aspects of grooming is that it mimics genuinely positive relationships and makes it harder for the victim to reject or report seriously abusive behaviour. It often occurs where there is a power differential in a relationship, such as between an adult who has a learning disability and someone who doesn’t.

    The Power of Language

    Language is vital in creating a positive culture and fostering inclusivity. Complex terminology and jargon can isolate individuals and result in people feeling excluded. In contrast, using respectful language can widen participation in services, organisations and communities.

    More information about Safeguarding is available the national charity

    Ann Craft Trust: Safeguarding Adults and Young People at Risk





    • Safeguarding and Local Issues

      Safeguarding and Local Issues  -  November 2021

      Knowing the current local safeguarding trends and issues means  gives us all a better understanding of the most common risks in Surrey. Exploitation and abuse of children, young people and adults doesn’t only happen behind closed doors. Often the biggest risks are in our local communities or online.

      If you have a concern about yourself or someone you know you can speak to one of our Surrey Adult Learning Safeguarding team or the Surrey Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub. If it is an emergency situation, always call 999. 

      What are the current safeguarding issues in Surrey that we all need to be aware of?

      1. Domestic Abuse
      2. Mental Health (MH) and Wellbeing
      3. County Lines including Cuckooing
      4. Hate Crime
      5. Scams
      6. Neglect
      7. Extreme ideologies: Extreme Right Wing; Islamic; Incel; Mixed; unstable or unclear 

        Unfortunately this doesn’t mean other types of abuse are not happening.

      1. Domestic Abuse

      Sadly, home is not always a safe place. Anyone can be the victim of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is not always physical violence. It can include:

      • Coercive control and gaslighting e.g. being intentionally isolated, cut off from family or friends, monitoring where you go or how you use technology
      • Emotional abuse
      • Financial Abuse – taking control of your money
      • Online abuse
      • Threats and intimidation – bullying
      • Sexual abuse

       Possible signs of domestic abuse include:

      1. Change in behaviour – becoming withdrawn, isolated from family or friends
      2. Bruises, burns or bite marks
      3. Not having enough money to pay for food or bills
      4. Not being allowed to leave the home or someone having to be back home by a certain time
      5. Being given tasks to complete within a deadline
      6. Having internet or social media use monitored or read
      7. Being belittled, told they are worthless
      8. Being pressured into sex or sexual contact
      9. Being told the abuse is their fault or they are overreacting

       Local Support

      • Surrey domestic abuse helpline provided by yourSanctuary 9am-9pm 7 days a week

      01483 776822

      • Help and support information for anyone experiencing domestic abuse in Surrey

      Surrey Against Domestic Abuse - Healthy Surrey

      How might a victim ask for help?

      Hand Signal – Asking for help

      Originally launched in Canada and the US it is now a global signal for help and because it is non-verbal it can be used regardless of language or culture.

       Ask for ANI

      Anyone suffering or at risk of domestic abuse can use the code word ‘ANI’ (Assistance Needed Immediately’) in UK Boots pharmacies or a number of independent chemists. The chemists who are providing this service will display a poster. The member of staff will discreetly check whether the person is in danger and wants the police called using 999 or if they want assistance contacting a national domestic abuse helpline, local support service or the police using 101.

      Bright Sky is a mobile app and website for anyone experiencing domestic abuse, or who is worried about someone else.

       2.  Mental Health and Wellbeing

      Our mental health (MH)determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make healthy choices. A deterioration in our mental health can also increase the risk of abuse by others. Safeguarding is not just about abuse but can include self-neglect and wellbeing.  Being aware that of a change in a learner or colleague’s mental wellbeing and knowing how to support is key. Even before Covid-19 one in six people reported experiencing a common MH problem in any given week in England []

      Just being aware of possible signs or indicators and being ready to listen, then doing something about it will provide support.

      Further information on the signs and indicators of a range of different mental health problems are available on Information & Support | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems

      It is vital that someone whose MH is at crisis or breaking point is provided with reassurance immediately. This may mean calling 999 in a life-threatening situation or supporting them to call a  crisis helpline such as:

      • Samaritans Call 116 123, or email
      • SANE national out of hours helpline for emotional support. Call 0300 304 7000 open 16:30 to 22:30 tel:0800 915 4644

      Local Support

      A wide range of support and therapies are available e.g.

      Mental Health | Surrey Information Point

      Mental wellbeing - Healthy Surrey

       3.  County Lines and Cuckooing

      County lines is the name given to drug dealing where organised criminal groups (OCGs) or gangs use phone lines to move and supply drugs, usually from cities into smaller towns and rural areas.

      They exploit vulnerable people, including children and those with a learning disability, mental health or addiction issues, by recruiting them to distribute the drugs, often referred to as ‘drug running’.  [Surrey Police]. Criminals look to recruit ‘clean skins’ because they are people not known to the police or other organisations like social services.


      Cuckooing is where the criminal gangs or drug dealers target the homes of vulnerable people to use as their base for drug dealing or other criminal activity. It's common to use a property for a short amount of time, moving address frequently to reduce the chance of being caught.

       Those particularly at risk are:

      • People with substance misuse issues
      • People with physical and/or mental health problems
      • People with learning difficulties
      • People made vulnerable by living alone, or age
      • Victims of Domestic abuse

      Possible signs of cuckooing:

      • Can take place in any type of accommodation
      • Increased number of people entering and leaving at all times of the day and night
      • Increased number of cars or bikes outside the property
      • Possible increase in anti-social behaviour in and around the property
      • Increased litter outside
      • Disengagement with support services or healthcare services
      • Signs of drug use/unusual smells coming from a neighbour’s property
      • Changes in your neighbour’s daily routine

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      4.  Hate Crime

      With the increase of refugees being received in Surrey there is a risk that hate crime will increase. Hate crimes and incidents are targeted at a person or their property because of hostility or prejudiced towards that person’s:

      • Disability
      • Race or ethnicity
      • Religion or belief
      • Sexual orientation
      • Transgender identity

       There are 4 main types of hate crime:

      1. Physical assault
      2. Verbal abuse
      3. Incitement to hatred (acting in a way that is threatening or intended to stir up hatred)
      4. Criminal damage

      Nationally in the year ending March 2021 the majority of hate crimes were racially motivated.

      5.  Scams

      Scams take many forms to cheat people out of money. They can occur online (using email or internet), by phone or on a person’s doorstep. Anyone can be a victim although scammers may deliberately target:

      • Older people and those with dementia
      • Adults with learning disabilities
      • People with other support needs such as mental illness or physical disability

      Warning signs can include:

      • Being asked to give out bank details or a pin number
      • Being asked to pay a fee to claim winnings
      • Being promised a big cash sum – if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
      • Being told repairs are urgently needed
      • Being told something is a ‘one-time offer’ or ‘expires quickly’

       6. Neglect

      For ‘adults at risk’ as defined by the Care Act 2014, neglect, including acts of omission, was  the largest type of abuse referred in Surrey in 2019/20.

      Neglect can take different forms and can be the result of the deliberate withholding or unintentional failure to provide appropriate and adequate care or support.

      Signs or indicators of possible neglect include:

      • Wearing dirty clothes, not dressed appropriately for the weather or often untidy
      • Not receiving a reasonable level of care including not being given prescribed medication or taken to medical appointments.
      • Often being hungry or thirsty
      • Not being allowed privacy or being treated with dignity.
      • Failure to be properly supervised for behaviour that could be dangerous.


      7.  Prevent Duty

      Although Surrey is currently a low-risk county for terrorist activity, we need to be alert to tensions and extremist groups in our communities [Prevent - Healthy Surrey].

      The government defines extremism as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values”

      Far Right Extremism and Islamist Extremism are ideologies of concern. Eighteen months of lockdown has led to growing engagement in extremist materials ranging from terrorism to conspiracy theories and disinformation.

      Islamic ideology accuses the West of carrying out a war on Islam and justifies terrorist activity by extreme interpretations of the Quran.

      Extreme Far Right ideology is based on Nazi concepts sometimes with influences from the USA. The views you might hear include:

      • Anti-communist
      • Anti-Semitic
      • Conspiracy theories
      • Anti-immigration or extreme racial intolerance
      • Homophobia

      You might see:

      • Symbolic tattoos or doodles
      • Wearing of military style clothing
      • Stickering of street furniture

       Possible or emerging risks:

      Incels or Involuntary Celibates - Incels are men who consider they are entitled to a relationship and sex but see only a life of loneliness and rejection because women are not attracted to them. This possible or emerging risk has been growing since Covid-19 lockdowns possibly because some men have become more isolated, suffering from a lack of confidence or their mental health has declined.

      Mixed, unstable or unclear ideology – someone may identify with a range of different ideologies e.g. may start off looking at Islamophobia but move to extreme right wing. Their motivation cannot be pinned on one single belief or idea.


       SAL Safeguarding Team:

      Lisa Woodward - 07968 832445

      Chrissie Walsh - 07968 833357

      Sarah French - 07977 425168

      Surrey Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub:

      For concerns about an adult–  0300 470 9100

      For concerns about a child-   0300 470 9100 

      • Safeguarding and Prevent Posters