Statistics on adult safeguarding published in new report

The latest information on safeguarding concerns reported to local authorities in England has been published today by NHS Digital.

Safeguarding Adults, England, 2021-221 provides details of safeguarding activity carried out by local authorities2 and relating to vulnerable adults with care and support needs.

Safeguarding Adults is a statutory duty for councils with adult social services responsibilities in England under the Care Act 2014, in order to safeguard adults from abuse or neglect. The data is collected directly from these councils, also known as local authorities2 in this publication.

This publication includes information on:

  • The number of safeguarding concerns3raised
  • The number of safeguarding enquiries started
  • How many safeguarding enquiries were completed throughout the year under Section 42 of the Care Act 20144

Enquiries are broken down by the type and location of safeguarding risk. All data is available at local, regional and national levels.

The report also provides demographic information about individuals who were the subject of a Section 42 enquiry that started within the year, as well as the outcomes of completed enquiries where a safeguarding risk was identified.

The Safeguarding Adults data collection only includes cases of suspected abuse where a local authority safeguarding service has been notified and has entered details onto their system. It does not include cases where partner agencies have dealt with the allegation and not shared the information with the local authority. It is likely that there are cases of suspected abuse that have not been reported to local authorities.

All of NHS Digital’s statistics on adult social care are available via the new Adult Social Care Data Hub, which includes links to the publications, dashboards and information about the data collections.

These statistics cover from April 2021 to March 2022.


Read the full report

Safeguarding Adults, England, 2021-22


  1. Safeguarding Adults became a statutory duty under the Care Act 2014. Due to changes in terminology and definitions within the Safeguarding Adults Collection, care must be taken when comparing data in this report to those published in the Safeguarding Adults Report in 2013-14 and 2014-15. England-level statistics for 2020-21 have been estimated as one local authority was unable to provide data.
  2. Where the local authorities are councils with adult social services responsibility (CASSRs).
  3. Where an adult with care and support needs appears to be at risk of or experiencing abuse or neglect and unable to protect themselves, then under Section 42 of the Care Act, the local authority must carry out safeguarding enquiries. The purpose of a Section 42 enquiry should be to establish what, if any, safeguarding action is required, and if so, what and by whom.
  4. Details of Section 42 of the Care Act 2014 can be found here: