Safeguarding vulnerable adults

We are committed to preventing the abuse of vulnerable adults and responding promptly when abuse is suspected.

Seen it? Heard it? Report it.

The North Yorkshire safeguarding adults board have launched a campaign aimed at ensuring vulnerable people in North Yorkshire get the help and support they need and deserve. The campaign promotes the awareness of safeguarding and encourages the reporting of abuse. See the safeguarding adults board page on the North Yorkshire partnerships website for more details and to request posters to display in your own care or community setting.


Vulnerable adults are people over 18 who may be unable to take care of themselves and protect themselves from harm or exploitation because they are physically disabled, have mental health problems, learning difficulties or are frail, elderly or ill.

Abuse can happen anywhere and at any time and the abuser can be someone you know or a stranger. It might be a family member, carer, visitor or someone you share a residential or care home with. If you have concerns about standards of care or poor practice in a care home you can discuss this with the Care Quality Commission.

Abuse takes many forms - from physical, sexual, emotional and psychological, to institutional, financial, discriminatory and neglect. Essentially, it is mistreatment that violates a person's human and civil rights. There is no easy way to identify signs of abuse, but some of the signs may be:

  • Multiple bruising or finger marks;
  • Injuries the person cannot give a good reason for;
  • Deterioration of health for no apparent reason;
  • Loss of weight;
  • Inappropriate or inadequate clothing;
  • Withdrawal or changes in usual behaviour;
  • A person who is unwilling to be alone with a particular carer; or
  • Unexplained shortage of money.

See our  keeping people safe (pdf / 265 KB) leaflet for more information about what to do if you are being abused, or you suspect that someone is being abused.

See the Action on Elder Abuse website for advice and guidance on older person safeguarding. See the Respond website to access support for adults with learning disabilities who have experienced abuse.

Reporting abuse

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

If you or the person you are concerned about is not in immediate danger, you should ring our customer services centre on 01609 780780. This includes outside of office hours. The Minicom number is 01609 779838.

Service providers in the statutory, voluntary or independent sectors should use the  SA-A inter-agency safeguarding adults concerns form (docx / 209 KB) to report abuse.

Guides to safeguarding adults from abuse

These guides have been written by the North Yorkshire safeguarding adults board to explain how they help protect people from abuse and neglect. They are also used to help people understand how they can report abuse and what happens when they do.

The North Yorkshire safeguarding adults board

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 page on the North Yorkshire partnerships website for more information, including policies and procedures, services guidance, and details of training courses for service providers.

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