Adults at risk

Vulnerable adults are people over 18 who are unable to protect themselves from harm or being exploited because of disability, age or illness.

Abuse means either harming someone or not ensuring that someone isn't harmed. Abuse or neglect can happen within a family or an organisation, by people who are familiar, or less often by a stranger.

If you know someone who is at risk of abuse or is being abused, it’s very important to let the Council or the police know.


Types of abuse

  • physical abuse: hitting, shaking, throwing, burning or using medication to harm someone.
  • emotional abuse: marking someone feel worthless, telling them that no-one loves them, frightening them - threatening harm, being nasty; exploitation for work or sex.
  • sexual abuse: forcing someone to participate in a sexual activity, forcing someone to look at and/or create pornographic content. Encouraging someone to engage in sexually inappropriate behaviour.
  • neglect: not providing suitable food, accommodation or clothing; not preventing harm or physical risk, not ensuring access to care or medical treatment; not ensuring that the child receives regular education.
  • financial abuse: adults can be the victims of theft, fraud, or be pressurised on the contents of a will or power of attorney.
  • Modern slavery


What should I do if abuse happens?

If the individual is in direct danger, call the police immediately - 999.

If not, telephone the Council's Adult, Health and Wellbeing Department to share your concern.

  • Adult, Health and Wellbeing Department: 01766 772577/

    ext: 32964

  • Out-of-hours Service: 01248 353551

  •  Modern Slavery Helpline 08000121700


What information will i need to share?

  • What is the nature of your concern and what led to it?
  • What is the victim's name, date of birth, address and family details? (if known)
  • Who has caused you this concern, and are there any other witnesses?

What happens next?

  • Your call will be logged and information about the individual will be checked to see whether they are familiar.
  • Information will be collected from other agencies that might have links to the individual.
  • On the basis of this information, a decision will be made whether or not to investigate your concern.
  • This could lead to rigorous steps take to safeguard the individual from suffering further harm.