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All adults have a right to be safe and to live a life free from harm. Harm can come in many forms, and it affects people differently. But harm impacts on the rights we are all entitled to enjoy.

HIQA and the Mental Health Commission (MHC) have jointly developed National Standards for Adult Safeguarding.

The National Standards allow for a consistent approach to preventing and responding to harm if it does occur. They outline a way of working for health and social care services and support the development of a culture where safeguarding is embedded into practice rather than being viewed as a separate activity.

The National Standards offer a common language to describe adult safeguarding in health and social care services and help people using services to understand what they should expect from a service that is committed to promoting their rights, health and wellbeing and protecting them from the risk of harm.

Online learning module

HIQA and the Mental Health Commission have developed an online learning module to help front-line staff implement the national standards. Click here to read our press release.

Take the online learning module here.

The online learning module is hosted on HSELanD in the course catalogue ‘Health & Social Care Professionals’. The course is called: National Standards for Adult Safeguarding: Putting the standards into practice.

You will need to login to HSELanD to complete the course. It is free to set up an account with HSELanD and you do not need to work in the HSE to sign up for an account.

If you have any difficulty logging in or locating the course please contact the Standards Team at


What is safeguarding?

‘Safeguarding’ means putting measures in place in services to reduce the risk of harm, to promote people’s human rights and their health and wellbeing, and to empower people to protect themselves.

Safeguarding is fundamental to high-quality health and social care. The National Standards provide a framework for best practice in safeguarding adults in health and social care services in Ireland.

Resources to support the standards

Supporting documentation has been developed to assist in the implementation of the National Standards.


How the standards were developed

Read our Background document detailing the international and national evidence that was used to inform the development of the national standards.

Our Statement of outcomes document outlines the feedback that was received during focus group discussions with people using health and social care services, people supporting and caring for them, as well advocates, and through the public consultation and how this feedback informed the development of the National Standards.

Further information

For further information or if you have any questions, you can email the Standards Team at or call 01 814 7400 and ask to speak to a member of the team.

Resources to aid understanding and support implementation

Additional tools have been developed to assist front-line staff and senior management to implement the national standards:
Complete our online learning module to learn practical ways that you can apply these standards in your day-to-day work.