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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Safeguarding Adults Week puts focus on financial abuse and self-neglect

17 November 2023

This year’s Safeguarding Adults Week (Monday 20 to Friday 24 November 2023) has a particular focus on financial abuse and self-neglect, while also serving as a reminder that safeguarding is the responsibility of all Islanders.

“Safeguarding” refers to measures designed to protect the health, wellbeing, and human rights of individuals. The measures allow children, young people and adults at risk to live free from abuse, harm and neglect.

Abuse comes in many forms, including domestic abuse, hate crime and child neglect. It can be intentional or unintentional, and can involve an action, or even a lack of action. Abuse violates a person’s human rights and is often a criminal offence. It might not be witnessed or disclosed. It is important that Islanders know what signs to look out for and how to go about reporting any concerns.

The Safeguarding Adults Week campaign is led by Sarah Whitmarsh (Named Nurse Adult Safeguarding, Health and Community Services). The event is sponsored by the Safeguarding Partnership Board and is supported by HCS and multi-agency partners.

Sarah Whitmarsh said: “Abuse can happen anywhere and is never acceptable, we must not tolerate it in any form. We all have a role to play in identifying a concern and reporting it.

“We may notice something about a person we’re worried about, or a relationship the person has with someone else. For instance, we might notice a change in a person’s appearance, attitude, or behaviour. Whatever the situation, we need to stay aware and be alert for any warning signals. Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.

“We hope Islanders will take the opportunity to engage with one of the pop-up sessions to learn more, but information on how to report any safeguarding concerns is always available at HCS and other Government buildings, Parish Halls or online at Jersey Safeguarding Partnership Board.”

To help educate Islanders, HCS safeguarding colleagues and other Safeguarding professionals will be holding community pop-up sessions at three different locations:

  • 20 November – Jersey General Hospital (Parade entrance) from 10am to 2pm
  • 21 November – Broad Street Post Office from 10am to 2pm (Financial abuse)
  • 24 November – Central Market from 10am to 2pm (Self-neglect)

Financial abuse

This includes fraud, theft, taking property without permission, assuming ownership of money or items, scamming (which can be in person, by letter, phone and internet), coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs including the writing of or changing a Will, and misuse of benefits. Financial abuse can involve small and large amounts of money or value of property. It can be a criminal act, insidious and can be perpetrated by people well known to the adult at risk.


Self-neglect is the inability to maintain an accepted standard of self-care, with the potential for serious adverse consequences to the mental and/or physical health and well-being of the individual and potentially to their neighbours and the community. It includes:

  • lack of self-care – neglect of personal hygiene, nutrition, hydration and/or health, thereby endangering safety and wellbeing; and/or
  • lack of care of one’s environment – squalor and hoarding, and/or refusal of services that would mitigate risk of harm. It can involve social isolation and can involve substance misuse or mental health issues

Self-neglect can be a result of a conscious decision to live life in a particular way that may have an impact on a person’s health, wellbeing or living conditions, and may have a negative impact on other people's environments. Often in these circumstances people may be unwilling to acknowledge there might be a problem and/or be open to receiving support to improve their circumstances. There are various reasons why people self-neglect. Some people have insight into their behaviour, while others do not; some may be experiencing an underlying condition such as dementia. 

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