Abuse of adults with care and support needs
Every adult has the right to be treated with dignity, have his or her choices respected and live a life free from fear. We all need to take the abuse of adults at risk very seriously.
Safeguarding adults is about working together to stop the abuse or neglect of adults who, due to their care and support needs, are unable to protect themselves.
How to raise a safeguarding concern
If a crime has been committed or someone is at immediate risk of harm, call the police on 999.
Contact the safeguarding adult team on 0208 937 4098 or 0208 937 4099 from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.
Outside of office hours, contact the Emergency Duty Team on 0208 863 5250.
You can also raise a safeguarding concern by completing this form and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. This form is aimed at professionals, but anyone is welcome to use it. If you have any trouble completing the form, please contact the Safeguarding Adults Team at email@example.com and they will help you.
Types of abuse
Abuse can take many forms and can happen anywhere: at home, in a care home, hospital, day centre, or in public.
Some examples of abuse include:
- Not providing enough food or drink
- Intentionally leaving someone unattended when they need help
- Ignoring the person when they speak
- Rough handling
- Threatening or humiliating someone
- Not offering the person a choice
- Putting pressure on someone to change his/her will
There are many different types of abuse, some of which include:
- Physical abuse - such as hitting, force-feeding, or misuse of medication
- Domestic violence or abuse - such as isolating the person from sources of support
- Sexual abuse - such as inappropriate touching
- Psychological or emotional abuse - such as intimidation, or not respecting privacy
- Financial or material abuse - such as stealing or misusing money or property
- Modern slavery - such as forced labour or trafficking of people
- Discriminatory abuse - treating someone less favourably because of race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, disability, or sexual orientation
- Organisational abuse - such as not enough staff in a care home
- Neglect - such as not giving the correct medicine, not providing food or clothing, or not arranging the right care
- Self-neglect - such as not looking after your own health, hygiene, or home
Other types of abuse include forced marriage, so-called honour based violence, female genital mutilation, cuckooing, and hate crime.
Indicators of abuse
Some people may not realise they are being abused, or may be worried about reporting it. Sometimes the person being abused is not able to say what is happening to them. In these situations, we can look for potential signs that the person may be being abused.
Some warning signs of abuse include:
- Unexplained falls
- Mood change
- Not seeing friends or family
- Not wanting to be alone with a particular person
- Change of appetite: weight loss or gain
- Poor personal hygiene
For more information on the types of abuse and potential indicators of abuse, read the SCIE safeguarding adults website.
Who is an adult at risk?
People may be at increased risk of abuse and unable to protect themselves if they:
- depend on other people for their care
- are older, frail, or have limited mobility
- have mental health problems
- have a learning disability
- have a sight or hearing impairment
- have dementia
- misuse alcohol or drugs
- have a long-term illness
Anyone can be an abuser - relatives, partners, people paid to provide care, volunteers, neighbours, friends or strangers.
What happens next
If you report abuse to us, we will take your concerns seriously and will work with the person being abused, or at risk of being abused, to decide what happens next.
We may need to talk to other people but we will ask for consent before we do so. We will also consider if a person has mental capacity to give consent and to be part of the safeguarding process. We will work with the individual to keep them safe and think about how to reduce the risk of abuse or neglect in the future.
If the individual needs someone to help support them through the process, we will make sure they have an independent advocate.