We provide a range of safeguarding services

We can help you to access support and services as follows:

  1. Safeguarding Adults from Abuse (SAFA) multiagency response
  2. Training and Education
  3. Keeping Safe Feeling Safe Course
  4. Refer to other agencies that may be beneficial to the person and their whanau

How it works

Anyone can make a referral to SVAT, or you can self-refer. The referral will be assigned to the Safeguarding Connector who will:

  • Take a strengths-based, person-directed and whānau-centred approach.
  • Determine the risk of immediate danger or harm, and coordinate immediate intervention as required.
  • Seek to understand the background and situation of concern.
  • Provide a single point of contact.
  • Coordinate the multiagency response.

We work in connection with other supports and services to assist people to be safe and feel safe, retain their independence, and increase their resilience and wellbeing.

Common questions

  • A person has needs for care and support
  • Is experiencing, or at risk of abuse and or neglect; and
  • As a result of their care and support needs, is unable to protect him or her-self against the abuse or neglect, or the risk of it.


This coordinated response ensures that an adult at risk remains in control of the decision making, and that there is a common understanding of the risks and the necessary steps to ensure safety and enhanced wellbeing.  It can work in conjunction with other supports such as advocacy and supported decision making.  The goal is to assist people to feel and be safe, retain independence and increase resilience and wellbeing.

If you know someone who is at risk of harm, neglect or abuse within the community you are able to make a referral to SVAT for support and guidance. 

Safeguarding is everybody’s business.  It means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse, neglect and harm.

Abuse can take place anywhere.

Abuse means illegal, improper or harmful practice. It can take a number of different forms, including:

  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • psychological or emotional abuse
  • financial abuse
  • neglect of acts of omission are also forms of abuse.


The person who is responsible for the abuse is often well known to the person abused. They could be:

  • a paid carer or volunteer
  • a health worker, care worker or other worker
  • a relative, friend or neighbour
  • an occasional visitor or someone who is providing a service
  • someone who deliberately exploits vulnerable people
  • someone who uses services (people who use services may intentionally or unintentionally abuse others and may require support to overcome abusive behaviour).

If you know someone well you may notice changes in their behaviour or appearance. These might be big or small changes, and might happen over a long period of time or suddenly.

Here are some changes that might mean someone is being abused. This is not a full list, but these are some of the things you can look out for:

  • they have physical injuries without explanation
  • they become withdrawn, tearful or anxious
  • they show signs of fear or talk about not feeling safe
  • they are hungry or dehydrated
  • they start self-harming
  • they start communicating differently or stop communicating altogether
  • their needs change, for example they need or ask for different types of care or different levels of care
  • their skills change, for example self-care or continence management skills
  • they behave differently or seem more or less happy and relaxed with different staff or in different environments e.g. at their day centre compared to their home.


It can be difficult to be sure that someone is being abused, but if you are concerned that abuse might be going on, we would always encourage you to raise your concerns.

  • If someone you know is in immediate danger you should contact the police on their emergency phone number 111.  If it is not an emergency but are wanting Police guidance, their non-emergency number is 105 or online through the Police Website
  • If there is no immediate danger, you can report your concerns about abuse to the local Safeguarding Connector, immediately. You can contact the Safeguarding Connector if you have any suspicion that someone is at risk of abuse.
  • If you do not receive a swift response from the Safeguarding Connector letting you know whether or not they plan to investigate or you are not happy with the outcome, then you may wish to make a formal complaint to the organisation which provides the person support as soon as possible. You can also report your suspicions to the police.
  • If you are still unsure of what to do, please contact SVAT for advice.


Role of the Connector

  • Takes a strengths-based person-directed and whānau-centred approach.
  • Determines the risk of immediate danger or harm, and coordinates immediate intervention if required.
  • Seeks to understand the background and situation of concern.
  • Provides a single point of contact.
  • Coordinates the multiagency response.

The Connector works with other supports like advocacy and supported decision making to assist people to be safe and feel safe, retain independence, and increase their resilience and wellbeing. 

If you would like to be put in touch with the SVAT Connector please contact us.

Adults at Risk

An adult who is at-risk of neglect, abuse, mistreatment or harm is very vulnerable and it is our goal to prevent harm and provide support.

Although this population is varied and diverse, adults at-risk may include people with intellectual disabilities, people with physical disabilities, elderly, and those without support systems.

For assistance please contact us.

Safeguarding Advisory Panel

A group of professionals that work for different agencies with adults at-risk within our local Taranaki community. The panel meets monthly to ensure that there is accountability within the process, and clarity regarding different cases.