Understanding Unidentified Adults

Understanding Unidentified Adults

The term ‘Unidentified Adults’ refers to an adult who agencies are not aware of, or not engaging with. They could be living within a household where children live or with someone who has regular contact with children. This can be in any capacity (such as parent, partner, grandparents, non-family member etc.)

It is important to ensure that when information is sought and responses are received regarding adults involved in a child’s life, that it is recorded within your agency’s records.

Top Tips for Identifying

The purpose of the ‘top tips’ is to increase professionals’ awareness and to assist in prompting professional to notice changes, outside of the usual contact. It may not appropriate for all professionals to question but to share information with the relevant agency.

  • The main carer references to another person in a child’s life in conversations.
  • Children refer to another unknown adult in conversation or through play/imitation.
  • Presence of another person on visits/ contacts.
  • Presence of another person at appointments and locations for example at school gate.
  • Instinct or ‘tacit knowledge’ plays an important part. For example, someone else new in the house who appears to be ‘at home’ or taking on a caring role for the children.
  • Physical evidence of another person which contradicts what you were expecting for example, personal possessions evident around the household, spare bedrooms in use / spare bedding visible.
  • When someone is introduced as a family member which does not ‘fit’ with existing knowledge of the family situation.
  • Other adult in the household who ‘removes’ themselves when the professional arrives.
  • Information provided to a professional by a third party.
  • Change in a child’s behaviour or primary carer’s behaviour.
  • New adults answering questions being directed at the primary care giver or child.
  • Falling into rent arrears.
  • Changes to the condition of the property.
  • New vehicles parking at the property.
  • Change in children appearance or demeanour.
  • Not keeping pre-arranged appointments.
  • Constant presence of someone not known at the property/answering the door etc.
  • Information may need to be flagged/checked/verified with another professional, not necessarily challenged by the worker at that time. Professionals need to consider asking partner agencies what information they hold about the child and family.

Top Tips for Engaging

  • Introducing yourself or asking to be introduced to another person.
  • Asking them to introduce themselves.
  • Enquiring respectfully about other adults who may be in a child’s life who can offer support or who may need support. This information could be gained by aiming questions to the adult rather than the child – particularly if they are a single parent / working parent. For example – is there anyone who you can/do ask to help with things around the house or the children?
  • All written communication should be inclusive of all key people in a person’s or child’s life.
  • Being aware of person’s concerns about sharing information due to loss of benefits, implications for housing provisions previous experience of services.
  • Offering the next contact at a time when the other adult can be present and noting the response to this, for example, happily accepted or avoided.
  • Asking a direct question as to why they are at the property.
  • Asking where they normally reside.

This poster can be used as a prompt for professionals and aid training on understanding unidentified adults.  ‘How do I notice an Unidentified Adult?’ poster by Hampshire Safeguarding Children Partnership © Hampshire SCP 2023 website toolkit here > 

For help and advice regarding safeguarding Adults and the services we offer please visit our website www.safe-guarding.co or email info@safe-guarding .co or ring 07980 264671.