Safeguarding vulnerable adults

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

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

Abuse is always wrong.

No one should have to live with abuse.

By reporting abuse you can help bring it to an end.

Anyone could be at risk of abuse or neglect. A person may be more or less vulnerable at different times in their life.

An adult at risk of abuse or neglect is:

  • an adult who has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs for care and support);
  • experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect; and
  • as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.

There are lots of different types of abuse, including:

  • Physical abuse - someone being hit, slapped or kicked, being locked in a room or restrained inappropriately.
  • Sexual abuse - someone being 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 - includes not giving someone the care that they need.
  • Modern slavery - human trafficking and forced labour.
  • 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; inappropriate ways of addressing people.
  • Self neglect is also a form of abuse. This is when someone chooses not to look after themselves. It might include not eating, or refusing help for their health or care needs and this has a significant effect on their wellbeing.

Abuse can be:

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

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

  • someone’s home;
  • a care home;
  • hospital;
  • supported employment and day services; or
  • public places.

Abuse can be done by anyone. This includes:

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

It can also be done by more than one person.

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; or
  • finds money is missing.

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 / 268 KB) to report abuse.

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

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; and
  • 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.

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 website for more information, including policies and procedures, services guidance, and details of training courses for service providers.