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Safeguarding adults

Who is a vulnerable?

A person:

  • Who is aged 18 or over
  • Who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness


  • Is or may be unable to take care of him or herself or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation. p 8-9 (DH, 2000).

What is abuse?

“Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by another person or persons.” p9 (DH, 2000).

“Neglect and abuse arise in the absence of effective prevention and early warning systems” p11 (DH, 2011)

Types of abuse and harm vary according to:

  • Number of incidents: Single incident or pervasive / repetitive
  • Intentions: Unintentional, recklessness or intentional
  • Degree of harm: Along a continuum from ‘low level’ to ‘significant’
  • Legislation: Some forms of abuse may also be a crime
  • People involved: Anyone can be an abuser
  • Settings: abuse can happen anywhere, including hospitals, care homes and people’s own homes.

Forms of abuse

Examples include:

  • Physical: Such as hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint
  • Financial or material: Misusing, withholding or taking someone’s money or property without their consent, such as theft, fraud, pressure in connection with wills or financial transactions, misuse of property
  • Sexual: Such as rape, sexual assault or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented or could not consent or was pressured into consenting. Includes repeated instances of poor care, lack of risk management and disregard for vulnerable adult’s choices.
  • Psychological and emotional: Such as ignoring, threats of harm or abandonment, forced marriage, humiliation, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services
  • Institutional: Where care practice is based on staff or organisational needs, rather than needs of vulnerable adult, such as repeated instances of poor care, poor risk management, and disregard for vulnerable adult’s choices. This abuse may be physical, financial, psychological, discriminatory and/or neglectful
  • Discriminatory: Abuse based on vulnerable adult’s race, gender, sexuality or religious beliefs. This abuse may be physical, financial, psychological, institutional and/or neglectful
  • Neglect: Where assessed health needs are ignored or interventions are withheld, such as ignoring care needs, withholding medication, inadequate nutrition, failure to provide access to appropriate health and social care services.

What do I do if I suspect abuse is happening?


Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council Safeguarding Adults
Address: Doncaster Council, Civic Office, Waterdale, Doncaster DN1 3BU
Telephone: (01302) 736296
Out of hours:  (01302) 796000

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council Safeguarding Adults
Telephone: (01709) 822330
Out of hours: 01709 336080

The Rotherham sexual exploitation helpline provided by the NSPCC is a single point of contact for victims and survivors. The helpline is confidential and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – 0800 7319 256 / Email:

Manchester City Council Safeguarding Adults

Address: Manchester City Council, 3rd Floor, Wenlock Way Offices, Wenlock Way,
West Gorton M12 5DH
Telephone: (0161) 234 5001 (24 hours, 7 days a week)

North Lincolnshire Safeguarding Adults
Telephone:  Adults Social Services (01724) 297979
Out of hours:   Adults Social Services (01724) 298160

North East Lincolnshire Safeguarding Adults
Address: Focus Independent Adult Social Work, Safeguarding Adults Team, Olympia House,
5 Saxon Court, Gilbey Road, Grimsby DN31 2UJ
Telephone:  (01472) 232244
Out of hours:  (01472) 256256

Link for the Safeguarding Adult Procedures for South Yorkshire – 2014: South Yorkshire Safeguarding Adults Board procedures manual