Who is an adult at risk?

Someone over 18 years old who:

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not we are meeting any of those needs) and;
  • is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  • 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 a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons It may also be a criminal offence. Abuse hurts people in many ways: it can cause fear suffering, injury or even death. Abuse can take many forms It can be obvious but sometimes it is subtle.

Examples of abuse

  • Physical: restraint, over medication, hitting or threatening to hurt someone.
  • Financial: Pressure to change a will, share PIN number, taking or borrowing possessions without the owner’s consent, over charging, pressure selling.
  • Psychological: name calling, discrimination, threats, humiliation, not listening to person wishes.
  • Sexual: touching, marriage or sexual acts without a person’s consent, professionals involved in intimate relationships with their clients.
  • Domestic abuse: controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse by someone who is or has been an intimate partner or family member. 
  • Organisation abuse: including neglect or poor care within an institution or specific care setting. 
  • Self- neglect: this covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviours such as hoarding.
  • Modern slavery: encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forces labour and domestic servitude. .

Who abuses?

Anyone can become an abuser. Most abusers are known by the adult at risk. The abuse can happen anywhere – in the home, in the community, in day or residential care, in hospital or at college. Abusers can be a:

  • family member
  • friend
  • neighbour
  • a paid carer
  • a health or care professional
  • work colleague

What should I do if I suspect abuse?

  • Always listen carefully
  • Make a note of what has happened or what you are worried about
  • Make a note of what has happened or what you are worried about
  • If you are an adult who is being abused, or think you may be, talk to someone you trust or contact us
  • If you are a person an adult at risk trusts to tell about abuse, ask their permission to contact us or the police if a criminal offence is suspected.
  • If you are a paid carer or volunteer tell your manager or another manager in your agency

What happens next?

  • We will listen and take you seriously.
  • We will help decide which the most appropriate agency to work with you is.
  • We can visit you or the adult at risk and find out what is happening.
  • We will work with you to investigate and establish the facts. 
  • If necessary, we can help you to report the abuse to the police or other agencies who may be able to help with an investigation.

E-learning

To learn more about this topic you can use our free safeguarding adults e-learning tool.  Usage instructions here.