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Publication, Part of

Safeguarding Adults, England, 2021-22

Official statistics

Current Chapter

Safeguarding Adults, England, 2021-22


This publication provides the findings from the Safeguarding Adults Collection (SAC) for the period 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022. Safeguarding Adults is a statutory duty for Councils with Adult Social Services Responsibilities in England under the Care Act 2014, in order to safeguard vulnerable adults from abuse or neglect. The data is collected directly from these councils, also known as local authorities in this publication.

The aim of this publication is to inform users about aspects of safeguarding activity at national, regional and local level. This page presents the key facts and data tables. Further chapters give more detailed key information about data quality, how the data should be used, how the data was collected and collated (Introduction and Key Points chapter) and background about safeguarding (Supporting Information chapter). The Safeguarding Adults dashboard, which is an interactive business intelligence tool published alongside the data tables, presents further insight of the data including breakdowns by local authority.

The England-level statistics for 2021-22 have been estimated as one local authority was not able to submit data.

The Coronavirus Act 2020 made easements to the Care Act 2014; however Safeguarding duties were not affected by the Care Act Easements.

A repository of the code used to produce future Safeguarding Adults publications is available on GitHub:

The code is being iterated whilst the team makes improvements until all the publication outputs are produced from the code. 

We welcome feedback on the methodology and tables within this publication. Please email us with your comments and suggestions, clearly stating Adult Social Care as the subject heading, via [email protected] or 0300 303 5678.

Adult Social Care Data Hub - Safeguarding Adults dashboard

This tool is in Microsoft Power BI which does not fully support all accessibility needs. If you need further assistance, please contact us for help

Safeguarding concerns

There were an estimated 541,535 concerns of abuse raised during 2021-22, an increase of 9% on the previous year, which is slightly above the average annual growth rate per year for the previous four years (8% per year on average between 2016-17 and 2020-21).

Section 42 enquiries

The number of enquiries that commenced under Section 42 of the Care Act 2014 during the year increased by 6% to an estimated 161,925, following a similar decrease the previous year, and involved 129,685 individuals.

Other safeguarding enquiries

The number of Other safeguarding enquiries, where there may not be reasonable cause to suspect the statutory Section 42 criteria are met but where local authorities use other powers to make enquiries, is reported to be 22,590 in 2021-22. However, one local authority confirmed an error was made in entering the total number of Other safeguarding enquiries in their data return, further details are provided in the Data Quality Key Information section in the Introduction and Key Points chapter.

Type and location of risk

The most common type of risk in Section 42 enquiries that concluded in the year was Neglect and Acts of Omission, which accounted for 31% of risks, and the most common location of the risk was the person’s own home at 48%.


In 91% of concluded Section 42 enquiries where a risk was identified, the reported outcome was that the risk was reduced or removed.

Last edited: 13 June 2023 8:37 am