High-impact campaign safeguards more adults in Somerset

“Thinking it? Report it” was a low-cost campaign that aimed to inform communities across Somerset about the hidden issue of adult abuse and neglect.

What we did

We were commissioned by Somerset Safeguarding Adults’ Board to develop a campaign to inform the local community about a range of abuses experienced by vulnerable adults which would encourage concerned individuals to report to a specialist team of social workers.

Our central campaign idea/central message was called ‘Thinking it? Report it”. We wanted to appeal to people’s sense of ‘gut feeling’ suspicion. We wanted our campaign to get across a message that it didn’t matter if people reported a concern which was later found to be without basis. There was a chance that their concern was genuine and by making a call, their intervention could save someone from harm. We tested our ideas, stories and messaging with a service user focus group and refined these into four key calls to action:

  • If you think it, report it
  • If you see it, report it
  • If you hear it, report it
  • If you suspect it, report it

Under each of these straplines we built four stories. Each story was a genuine case study which illustrated a different type of abuse to show its various manifestations.

Our campaign was structured around three periods of activity:

Phase 1 launched the campaign in November. We developed hard hitting radio commercials, newspaper advertorials, bus adverts, posters and other materials to launch the campaign. We organised for representatives from the board to appear on television evening news and radio breakfast shows to talk about the issues and how it affects communities.


Phase 2 utilised the Christmas/New Year ‘feel-good period’ to reiterate to audiences that this was a difficult time for vulnerable and abused people. We also sent stakeholders an electronic Christmas card thanking them for supporting the campaign so far and urging them to continue supporting it by displaying our campaign visuals over this period.

Phase 3 was built around World Elder Abuse Day. We launched two new initiatives at this stage. The first was an explainer film to demonstrate to audiences, especially younger people, the hidden nature of adult abuse. The second was a community pledge, which gave people an opportunity to sign up and support the campaign.

Why we did it

The campaign objectives were to:

  • Increase the number of telephone calls to the dedicated adult safeguarding team
  • Inform Somerset residents around these issues to make them aware it was a challenge for the county and help was available

Who we did it for

Abuse of adults is thought to be under reported in the UK and affects people from across Somerset’s communities. An estimated 125,000 people aged 65 or older live in Somerset (2014 mid-year estimates).


Awareness raising  

We mapped key stakeholders and media outlets across the county and, for each phase, shared compelling stories and materials to encourage them to run a story, begin a conversation or highlight the issues via their various print and digital media channels. This cost-effective way of increasing campaign-reach resulted in:

  • Over 3.1 million reached across all channels.
  • Print and online newspapers reached in excess of 482,000 people.
  • Over 127,000 reached via radio advertising.
  • Social media element of campaign reached in excess of 2.5million.
  • Around 50 stakeholders and survivors involved in coproduction.
  • Over 900 visits to campaign information on Somerset County Council’s website and later SSAB’s website.
  • 145 stakeholders used the stakeholder/media pack and sent direct e-communications about the campaign.
  • 750 posters distributed to locations across the county.

Behaviour change

  • A 37% increase in helpline calls about safeguarding issues in the campaign’s third phase. (In each phase, there was an increase, but this was the most significant).

What people said

The cost of our campaign was £25,000 and achieved a reach of over 3 million across all channels. It also created a genuine legacy for Somerset. For example, the pledge element of the campaign continues and our film is used as a training resource. Somerset have also been approached by other councils who literally want to use “Thinking it? Report it” lock, stock and barrel.

Our campaign saved and improved lives. And you can’t put a price on that.

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