Mental Health Commission

Our Values: Dignity and Respect, Human Rights, Confidentiality, Quality, Accountable and Transparent, Person-Directed

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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 always impacts on the rights we are all entitled to enjoy.

The Mental Health Commission (MHC) and Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA)  have jointly developed National Standards for Adult Safeguarding.

Having National Standards for Adult Safeguarding in place allows 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.

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.

Online learning module

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

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 & Quality Assurance team at

Other Resources to support the standards

  • Watch our short animation outlining what adult safeguarding is and how we all have a role to play in reducing the risk of harm and promoting people’s rights, health and wellbeing.
  • View a one-page summary poster of the 14 National Standards.
  • Read our information leaflet for people using services.
  • Watch our interviews with people involved in safeguarding on the importance of these standards to people using health and social care services.

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 & Quality Assurance team or call 01 636 2422 and ask to speak to a member of the team.


  1. One page poster
  2. Leaflet for people using services
  3. Statement of outcomes
  4. National Standards for Adult Safeguarding 2019
  5. FAQs
  6. View the consultation that preceded this publication



Contact Details

Waterloo Exchange, Waterloo Road, Dublin 4

Ph: 353(1) 636 2400

Fax: 353(1) 636 2440

Eircode: D04 E5W7

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