Safeguarding vulnerable adults

We have zero tolerance to all forms of abuse. We always respond promptly when we are made aware of suspected abuse.

What safeguarding means

Safeguarding adults means working together to stop abuse and prevent it from happening in the future. Everyone has a right to live a life free from abuse and neglect.

We will not accept any form of abuse. We always respond quickly when we are made aware of allegations.

Reporting a concern


You can contact us to speak to a specialist advisor if you or someone you know is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect.


If you or the person you are concerned about is in danger and immediate action is required, call the emergency services on 999.

Raise a safeguarding concern if you are a service provider in the statutory, voluntary or independent sector

Complete the form according to the Joint Multi-Agency Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures (West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and the City of York) which can be found on the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Adults Board website.

Completing this form must not delay immediate action being taken to ensure the safety of the person you are concerned about.

If you have any problems, please contact us. Outside of office hours please contact the emergency duty team.

If you have concerns about standards of care or poor practice in a care home you can discuss this with the Care Quality Commission.

The PERSON approach to professional visits form is intended as a prompt for professionals visiting residential settings. This aids teams in what to look out for in terms of the quality of care, which might not be related directly to the task at hand and encourages professionals to be reminded where opportunities may exist to challenge or celebrate the quality of care. Where quality related issues are identified, visiting professionals are encouraged to discuss these in the first instance with the responsible person for the service, home manager or deputy and complete the PERSON form. However, where appropriate, discuss within their team and raise a safeguarding concern if it is appropriate.

People at risk of abuse or neglect

An adult at risk of abuse or neglect is:

  • someone who needs care and support (whether or not we are meeting any of those needs)
  • someone unable to protect themselves from either the risk of or the experience of abuse or neglect

Different types of abuse

Abuse can include:

  • physical abuse - someone being hit, slapped or kicked, being locked in a room or restrained inappropriately
  • sexual abuse - someone made to take part in sexual activity when they haven't given consent or are not able to give consent 
  • emotional or psychological abuse - someone being shouted at, bullied, being made to feel frightened or pressurised into decisions
  • financial abuse - stealing, fraud, withholding or misusing someone's money or possessions 
  • neglect and acts of omission - this includes not giving someone the care that they need
  • modern slavery - human trafficking or being forced to work against their will 
  • domestic abuse - when abuse occurs between partners or by a family member 
  • discriminatory abuse - poor treatment or harassment because of someone's age, gender, sexuality, disability, race or religious belief 
  • organisational abuse - inflexible systems and routines in place that stop people making their own choices about their lifestyle, not considering a person's dietary requirements or inappropriate ways of addressing people 
  • self neglect - when someone chooses not to look after themselves (this might include not eating, or refusing help for their health or care needs and can have a significant effect on their wellbeing)

What abuse can be

Abuse can be:

  • something that happens once or that happens several times
  • something done deliberately
  • something unintentional
  • a crime

Where abuse can happen

Abuse can happen anywhere, at any time. It can happen in:

  • someone's home
  • a care home
  • hospital
  • supported employment and day services
  • public places

Who the abuser could be

Abuse can be carried out by anyone, including:

  • a partner or relative
  • a friend of neighbour
  • a paid or volunteer carer
  • a bogus worker
  • someone in a position of trust
  • a stranger

It can also be done by more than one person.

Signs of abuse

There are many signs of abuse. This includes when someone:

  • looks dirty or is not dressed properly
  • has an injury that is difficult to explain
  • seems frightened around certain people
  • seems unusually sad or withdrawn
  • finds money is missing

After abuse has been reported

After you have reported abuse, people will:

  • listen to you
  • take your concerns seriously
  • make enquiries about your concerns
  • consider the wishes of the adult at risk
  • offer the adult at risk an advocate
  • talk to the police if it is a criminal matter
  • support the adult at risk to achieve the changes they want wherever possible
  • develop a plan to help to keep the adult at risk safe in the future
  • consider if anyone else is at risk

We work in partnership with a range of organisations including health services, police and voluntary agencies, to safeguard adults from abuse and neglect. 

Raising a concern, requesting an assessment and risk notification returns

We undertake a range of social care functions which include:

  • assessing people's needs
  • working with care providers
  • responding to concerns of abuse or neglect

Requesting an assessment of need

For yourself, a member of your family, a friend or neighbour

Needs assessments are for adults (18 years or over) who may need support because of a disability, ill health or old age. You can request a needs assessment form by visiting our request involvement from adult social care page.

If you are a professional or work with adults

If you are a professional and you would like to request involvement from adult social care and not a safeguarding concern, please see the request involvement from adult social care page.

Risk notification returns for care providers

Providers carrying out a regulated service / activity or non-regulated activity such as, day support service, are required to notify the Quality and Market Improvement Team (North Yorkshire Council) by completing a risk notification return.

You can get a risk notification return form from our tools, procedures and guidelines for adult social care service providers page.

Please complete the risk notification and return it to us. Contact us for details.

Guides to safeguarding adults from abuse

It is important everyone has the information they need to be safe and feel safe. It is also a legal requirement under the Accessible Information Standard that people with a disability have information they can understand.

That is why the safeguarding adults board worked with the North Yorkshire learning disability partnership board and Inclusion North to write some easy read books about keeping safe. 

Self-advocates with a learning disability helped us think about the important issues people need to know to stay safe. Working with Inclusion North and KeyRing, self-advocates decided on the best words and images to help people understand what to do. Together we have made three Keeping Safe books.

The board works to protect adults who may be at risk from abuse and promotes co-operation and effective working practices between different agencies.    

See the North Yorkshire Safeguarding Adults Board website for more information.