Protecting vulnerable adults from harm

Safeguarding adults - report abuse or neglect

If you are worried that you or someone you know is in immediate danger, you should call the police on 999.

If the person you are worried about is not in immediate danger then you can report suspected abuse of an adult using our online form (link opens in new window) 

If you would rather speak to us, or if you need any help completing the form, you can contact us:

Reporting abuse of a child

If you want to report abuse of a child, please call the Children’s Team on 0300 300 8149.

Safeguarding adults from abuse and neglect

The safeguarding duties apply to an adult who:

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not we are meeting any of those needs)
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • as a result of those care and support needs, is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of or the experience of abuse or neglect

What is abuse?

Abuse is when someone does something which is wrong that hurts you, makes you feel frightened or unhappy. The abuse can vary from treating someone with disrespect in a way which significantly affects the person's quality of life, to causing actual physical suffering.

Abuse can be one of the following or a combination:

Physical - when someone hurts you, this could be kicking, slapping, biting, scratching or shaking you.

Sexual - this is when someone touches you on your private parts and you do not want them to. They may try to kiss you or make you have sex with them, or show you pictures of other people having sex.

Psychological or emotional - when people say things to you which are not nice, call you names, treat you like a child, laugh at you or ignore you.

Financial - this is when someone takes your money or things that belong to you, makes you pay for things or tells you how to spend your money.

Discriminatory - this is when somebody treats you unfairly because of the colour of your skin, your disability, your faith, because you speak a different language or because you are male or female or gay / lesbian / bisexual / transgender.

Neglect - this is when somebody who should help you doesn’t – they may not give you food, keep you safe, give you your medication or get you medical help.

Domestic abuse – this is when someone who is a close partner or family member abuses someone, which includes controlling, bullying, threatening behaviour, as well as all the types of abuse listed above.

Institutional - this is when people who are paid to look after you do not respect you if you are living in a care home, in hospital, at a day centre or even in your own home. They may be unkind to you, ignore you or your wishes and not give you any choices. They may not have had the correct training or use the right equipment to look after you.

Modern slavery – this includes slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic slavery. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to bully, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and cruel treatment.

Self-neglect – this is when someone neglects to care for their own personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

Any of these forms of abuse can be either deliberate or be the result of ignorance, lack of training, knowledge or understanding. Often if a person is being abused in one way they are also being abused in other ways.

Abuse can happen anywhere – a person’s home, a residential or nursing home, hospital, the workplace, a day centre or educational establishment, in supported housing or in the street.

People can be vulnerable to abuse because of an illness or disability, such as people with a learning, sensory or physical disability, older people who depend on or need help from others and people with mental health problems or dementia.

The person who is responsible for the abuse is very often well known to the person being abused, for example, a paid carer or volunteer, health or social worker, relative or friend.

Download our guides below for more information on how to protect yourself:

Guide for "alerters": What to consider before making a safeguarding alert (PDF 358.8KB)

Safeguarding Adults in Central Bedfordshire (Easy Read) (PDF 265.6KB)

Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults leaflet (PDF 212.5KB)

You can also listen to an audio version of our Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults leaflet (link opens in new window)

SovaZcard (PDF 763.7KB)

Preventing Financial Abuse (PDF 63.3KB)

A guide to personal safety (PDF 1.6MB)

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