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Council Services:

Suspected abuse or neglect of an adult at risk

The Customer Service Centre (CSC enquiries) is the first point of contact for any member of the public concerned about any issue regarding the safeguarding of adults. The Customer Service Centre will contact the local Safeguarding Team as appropriate.

You should contact the police by dialling 101 for anything that is not an emergency or dial 999 in an emergency.

Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted. This includes, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. This must recognise that adults sometimes have complex interpersonal relationships and may be ambivalent, unclear or unrealistic about their personal circumstances.

Organisations should always promote the adult’s wellbeing in their safeguarding arrangements. People have complex lives and being safe is only one of the things they want for themselves. Professionals should work with the adult to establish what being safe means to them and how that can be best achieved.

What is abuse

Abuse can take many forms and all of them are distressing:

Physical abuse - including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraints or inappropriate physical sanctions.

Domestic violence or domestic abuse - including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour’ based violence.

Sexual abuse - including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.

Psychological abuse - including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.

Financial or material abuse - including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Modern slavery - encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

Discriminatory abuse - including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment, because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

Organisational abuse - including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.

Neglect and acts of omission - including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

Self-neglect - this covers a wide range of behaviours where the person is neglecting to care for their own personal hygiene, health or surroundings, and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

Carers and safeguarding - circumstances in which a carer (for example, a family member or friend) could be involved in a situation that may require a safeguarding response include:

  • a carer witnessing or speaking up about abuse or neglect
  • a carer experiencing intentional or unintentional harm from the adult they are supporting or from the professionals and organisations they are in contact with
  • a carer unintentionally or intentionally harming or neglecting the adult they support

If you see, or know of a worrying situation please do not ignore it. Get in touch with us and we will do something about it. This may mean acting directly on your information and/or contacting other services to put an end to an abusive or neglectful situation.

We will also provide information and offer practical advice to the person suffering abuse, so that they can make an informed choice about any help they might need, or any action they may wish to take. If they are unable to make an informed choice, care will be taken to support and protect them.

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Last updated: 17 June 2016

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