Report suspected abuse: safeguarding adults at risk
1. Report adult abuse
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.
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.
We have a Bristol Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) guide to self neglect (pdf, 950k) (opens new window) . This covers what self neglect is, the signs to look out for and what to do if you're concerned about someone.
3. Safeguarding adults at risk in Bristol
The Safeguarding Adults Board (SAB) is a statutory partnership of all the organisations working to safeguard adults at risk in the city. Their policies help people to report, investigate and stop abuse, supported by Adult Care Team Managers.
If you’re an adult at risk taking part in any safeguarding enquiry or review, you can ask for an independent advocate to help you and speak for you.
- Safeguarding Flow Chart - External Allegations (amended 2012) (pdf, 23 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 23k) (opens new window)
- Safeguarding adults multi-agency policy (pdf, 0.8 MB) (opens new window) (pdf, 842k) (opens new window)
- Safeguarding adults information sharing protocol (pdf, 50 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 51k) (opens new window)
- Managing Large Scale Investigations (pdf, 0.9 MB) (opens new window) (pdf, 887k) (opens new window)
- Safeguarding adults complaints protocol (pdf, 48 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 48k) (opens new window)
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
- 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.
Elsewhere on the web
- Bristol Against Violence and Abuse Go to http://www.bava.org.uk/ (opens new window)
- Care Quality Commission Go to http://www.cqc.org.uk/ (opens new window)
- Action on Elder Abuse Go to http://www.elderabuse.org.uk/ (opens new window)
- Practitioner Alliance for Safeguarding Adults Go to http://pasauk.org.uk/index.html (opens new window)