Protection of Vulnerable Adults

Who is a vulnerable adult?

A vulnerable adult is someone who is aged over 18 who cannot always protect themselves from harm and may need care services because of mental, physical or learning disability, age or illness.

How do you report abuse?

If someone is abusing you, or someone else, it is important to tell someone. Do this as soon as you can by calling:

Who could Abuse?

Anyone could abuse. It could be:

  • Someone in the family
  • A partner or friend
  • A neighbour
  • A member of staff
  • Another vulnerable adult
  • A stranger
  • It could be more than one person.

What is abuse?

Types of abuse What might be happening
Physical abuse When someone hurts you - this could be hitting, kicking, burning, holding down or pushing around
Sexual abuse When someone touches you or makes you do things you do not like. They could make you touch them or kiss them when you do not want to.
Psychological abuse When someone says something to upset you - they could say you are stupid, threaten you, make you sad or hurt your feelings
Financial abuse When someone takes your money or things you own without asking. They might spend your money in a way you do not want
Neglect When someone who should be looking after you, doesn’t feed you, keep you warm and safe or take you to your doctor’s when you need help
Discrimination This is when someone treats you badly because of your disability, religion or the colour of your skin
Institutional abuse This could happen in a day centre, a hospital or a home when either a member of staff or another person might not treat you with dignity and respect.
Self-neglect  This covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.
Modern Slavery This encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.


Where can abuse happen?

Abuse can happen anywhere:

  • At home
  • At a day centre, residential home or college
  • At a friend's house
  • In a hospital
  • In the street or public place

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards

The Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) protect the rights and freedoms of people over 18 in care homes or hospitals who are unable to make choices or decisions for themselves about their treatment or care.

If you are concerned that someone is being deprived of his or her liberty in a care home or hospital, please raise your concern directly with the care home or hospital or contact Adult Social Services.

Suicide Prevention

Information concerning suicide prevention can be found on our suicide prevention page.

Page last updated: 08/06/2017