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Report suspected abuse: safeguarding adults at risk

How to report suspected adult abuse

If you or you think someone else is being abused, you must tell someone:

Call the Police

  • Telephone 101
  • In an emergency telephone 999

Otherwise you can contact the Adult Help Desk

Professionals only

Information that would be helpful

  • Why you're concerned
  • The name, age and address of the adult at risk
  • If anyone lives with them
  • If they're getting help from any organisation
  • Who may be doing the abuse

Don't delay in reporting abuse if you're not sure about some of these details.

How do I know if an adult is at Risk?

Some adults are particularly vulnerable to be hurt or abused because they have a disability, illness, or impairment and need help and support. Depending on others can sometimes make them vulnerable and at risk of abuse, very often from people they know. It isn't always intentional... but it is still abuse.

Abuse of a vulnerable adult may include the following:

  • Physical or sexual
  • Not being looked after properly
  • Being bullied or humiliated
  • Not being allowed contact with family or friends
  • Money is being taken from them without permission

Abuse can be the result of a single act or may continue over months or years. It can be accidental or a deliberate act - the result on the victim is the same. 

Abuse is the violation of an individual's human and civil rights by someone else. Abuse might be unintentional, the important factor is whether the adult at risk is harmed or not. Abuse can be:

  • Physical abuse - any form of assault, over-medication, restraint or poor manual handling practice.
  • Sexual abuse - rape or any sexual act which was not actively consented to or the person did not have the capacity to understand.
  • Psychological / emotional abuse - threats, intimidation, coercion, harassment or bullying.
  • Financial abuse - theft, borrowing money without repayment and any pressure in connection with wills or property, possessions or benefits.
  • Neglect - ignoring medical or physical needs, not providing access to appropriate care, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate food, water and heating.
  • Discriminatory abuse - all forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment based on a person's disability, ethnic origin, gender or sexuality. This is often called hate crime.
  • Institutional abuse - repeated instances of poor care, ill treatment of vulnerable adults, and unsatisfactory professional practice. This is often an indicator of more serious problems.
  • Modern slavery - slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.
  • Self-neglect - this covers a wide range of behaviour; neglecting to care for personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour like hoarding which puts the person, or others, at risk.

Abuse can happen in any setting

  • At home.
  • In sheltered housing.
  • In supported living settings.
  • At day centres and other day services.
  • In care homes.
  • In hospitals.
  • Wherever people are dependant on the care of others for their well-being.

Abuse happens to people in all sections of society.

Carers have a key role in safeguarding. For example, if you're a carer you may:

  • Witness or report abuse or neglect.
  • Experience intentional or unintentional harm from the adult you're trying to support.
  • Unintentionally or intentionally harm or neglect the adult you support.

If you're in the safeguarding process, we'll view the situation as a whole and look at the safety and wellbeing of both the adult at risk and their carer.

There's a statutory partnership - Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) - of all organisations working to safeguard adults at risk in the County.

The SAB have a policy - Safeguarding Adults multi-agency policy - to provide processes and support to report, investigate and stop abuse.

Please click on the link to visit the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board Website.

Alternatively, the Gloucestershire Safeguarding Adults Board guide is available in the downloads section of this page. Aimed at adults at risk and their families, it explains how to recognise signs of abuse and encourages the reporting of abuse.

You have a duty to report any concerns about abuse. Your employer will have a reporting procedure, make sure you know what you have to do.

Training is available for people working with adults at risk. For more information, please visit the Safeguarding Adults Training webpage.

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Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.