COVID-19 – Advice for professionals

Safeguarding risks may increase during isolation for vulnerable children and adults:

  • Abuse/neglect is hidden from professionals or others;
  • Adults at risk and children do not get the support they need;
  • People feel like they do not want to ask for help for fear of being an added burden or perceived as failing in their role;
  • Increased household stress and tension;
  • People ask for help from people who want to take advantage of their vulnerable position;
  • Increased risks to the child from engaging in more and/or unsupervised on-line activity.


  1. Use existing policies and procedures for children and adults;
  2. Use existing tools to assess risk;
  3. Ensure you factor in Covid-19 pressures to any risk assessments;
  4. As always, adults need to consent to any action undertaken but consider mental capacity, control and coercion on a person’s ability to make decisions and keep themselves and their children safe.

Plans to manage risk might include:

  • Exploring with adults, children and extended family, their own worries and strengths in order to identify their own solutions;
  • Identifying family/friend/neighbour to support the person / family and ways in which this could be done via phone/internet if possible;
  • Undertaking an assessment/re-assessment of need;
  • Discussing contingency arrangements for the adult / child’s care should the parent/carer become ill, the person providing informal support needs to self-isolate or becomes unable to support the individual.
Specific guidance for professionals working with adults

Coronavirus Act 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 is a new Act that amends key duties of the Care Act 2014, and parts of the Mental Health Act 1983 to alleviate the pressure on local authorities. This ensures that support is directed towards those who need it most.  These changes will only last for the duration of the emergency. 

Regulated Services

Court of Protection

The biggest impact for adult social care will be the courts use of telephone and video technology during the outbreak. Local authorities will still be expected to do as much as they can to comply with their powers to meet needs during this period. These amendments do not remove the duty of care local authorities have towards an individual’s risk of serious neglect or harm.

People affected by Dementia

During the coronavirus pandemic the Alzheimer’s Society have advice and practical tips for people living with dementia and those supporting them – either in the same household or from a distance. 

Further guidance

Specific guidance for professionals working with children and young people
If you are concerned about abuse or neglect you should report it immediately. Report concerns