Report suspected abuse: safeguarding adults at risk

1. Report adult abuse

Emergencies

If you have an emergency, call the Police on 999.
If it isn’t an emergency but you need help fast, call the Police on 101.

All other times

Use our online form to report suspected adult abuse if nobody’s health or safety is in immediate danger.

Report adult abuse

Other ways to report adult abuse

You can call Care Direct on 0117 922 2700, 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. There’s an answerphone service outside these hours.

What you should tell us:

  • why you're concerned
  • the name, age and address of the adult at risk
  • if anyone lives with them
  • if they're getting help from any organisation
  • who may be doing the abuse

Don't wait to report abuse if you're not sure about some of these details.

If reporting the abuse might put you at risk, you can let us know anonymously.

2. What is adult abuse and neglect

An adult at risk is an adult who:

  • needs care and support, whether or not the council provides it
  • is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • can’t protect themselves from abuse or neglect because of their care and support needs

Abuse is when anyone violates someone else’s human and civil rights. Abuse doesn’t have to be done on purpose; the most important thing is whether the adult at risk has been harmed.

Abuse can be:

• physical: any form of assault, over-medication, unnecessary restraint or bad manual handling
• sexual: rape or any sexual act that the victim didn’t consent to or couldn’t understand
• psychological or emotional: threats, intimidation, coercion, harassment or bullying
• financial: theft, borrowing money and not repaying it, and any pressure about wills, property, possessions or benefits
• neglect: ignoring medical or physical needs, not providing access to care, withholding essentials such as medication, food, water and heating
• discriminatory: all forms of harassment based on a disability, ethnicity, gender or sexuality
• institutional: repeated poor care and treatment of vulnerable adults, and unsatisfactory professional practice
• modern slavery: slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude
• self-neglect: not caring for personal hygiene, health or surroundings, including behaviour like hoarding which puts the person, or others, at risk

Abuse can happen in many places:

• at home
• in sheltered housing
• in supported living settings
• at day centres and other day services
• in care homes
• in hospitals
• wherever anyone depends on care from other people

This Bristol Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) Easy Read guide, for adults at risk and their families, explains how to recognise signs of abuse and report it.

4. If you work with adults at risk

If you're a professional, use the online safeguarding adults referral form for professionals or download the Bristol safeguarding adults referral form.

You have a duty to report any concerns about abuse. Your employer will have a reporting procedure; you should read our Alerter's Guide. If you don’t want to use your employer's procedure, contact Bristol Care Direct on 0117 922 2700 between 8.30am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

See our Adult Care Training page for information about the training you can get.

5. If you're a carer

You may:

  • witness or report abuse or neglect
  • experience intentional or unintentional harm from the adult you're trying to support
  • unintentionally or intentionally harm or neglect the adult you support

If you're part of a safeguarding enquiry or review, we'll look at the whole situation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both the adult at risk and you as their carer.

There’s more information on our Carers advice and support page.