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Transitional Safeguarding: presenting the case for developing Making Safeguarding Personal for young people in England

Christine Cocker (School of Social Work, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)
Adi Cooper (University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK and is the Independent Chair of two safeguarding Adult Boards in London, UK)
Dez Holmes (Research in Practice for Adults, Totnes, UK)
Fiona Bateman (Independent Chair of two Safeguarding Adult Boards in London, UK)

The Journal of Adult Protection

ISSN: 1466-8203

Article publication date: 25 January 2021

Issue publication date: 23 June 2021




The purpose of this paper is to set out the similarities and differences between the legal frameworks for safeguarding children and adults. It presents the case for developing a Transitional Safeguarding approach to create an integrated paradigm for safeguarding young people that better meets their developmental needs and better reflects the nature of harms young people face.


This paper draws on the key principles of the Children Act 1989 and the Care Act 2014 and discusses their similarities and differences. It then introduces two approaches to safeguarding: Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP); and transitional safeguarding; that can inform safeguarding work with young people. Other legal frameworks that influence safeguarding practices, such as the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and the Human Rights Act 1998, are also discussed.


Safeguarding practice still operates within a child/adult binary; neither safeguarding system adequately meets the needs of young people. Transitional Safeguarding advocates an approach to working with young people that is relational, developmental and contextual. MSP focuses on the wishes of the person at risk from abuse or neglect and their desired outcomes. This is also central to a Transitional Safeguarding approach, which is participative, evidence informed and promotes equalities, diversity and inclusion.

Practical implications

Building a case for developing MSP for young people means that local partnerships could create the type of service that best meets local needs, whilst ensuring their services are participative and responsive to the specific safeguarding needs of individual young people.


This paper promotes applying the principles of MSP to safeguarding practice with young people. It argues that the differences between the children and adult legislative frameworks are not so great that they would inhibit this approach to safeguarding young people.



Cocker, C., Cooper, A., Holmes, D. and Bateman, F. (2021), "Transitional Safeguarding: presenting the case for developing Making Safeguarding Personal for young people in England", The Journal of Adult Protection, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 144-157.



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