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Safeguarding adults at risk of abuse

What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.
If you suspect someone you know is at risk of being abused or neglected, don’t ignore it, get in contact with professionals who can help break the cycle.

The person causing the abuse can be known to the person abused. They can often be in a position of trust.  For example: spouses/partners; other family members; neighbours; friends; acquaintances; paid staff or professionals and volunteers; local residents; people who deliberately exploit adults they perceive as vulnerable to abuse; or strangers.

Abuse could be a one-off incident or happen repeatedly over a period of time.

You are more at risk if:

  • You are isolated and have little contact with friends/family/neighbours.
  • You are dependent on someone as a carer and there are issues with them.
  • Your carer relies on you for a home/financial and emotional support.

I think I am being abused – what can I do?

Tell someone you trust as soon as possible.  Help and support is available.

Speak to friends or careworkers, who may have an understanding of the situation and be able to take steps quickly to improve your situation.

You can also talk to trusted professionals such as your local GP or social worker, or contact Bradford Council’s Safeguarding Adults Team on 01274 431077.

You can report abuse online at

Advocacy services can help support you.

Advocacy services will listen to you and help you to:

  • Say what you want.
  • Make sure your rights are met.
  • Get the services you need.

Information on Advocacy Services available in Bradford can be found at

Who is an adult at risk?

Aged 18 years or over:

  • Has needs for care and support.
  • Is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect.
  • 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.

An adult at risk may therefore be a person who, for example:

  • Is an older person who is frail due to ill health, physical disability or cognitive impairment.
  • Has a learning disability.
  • Has a physical disability and/or a sensory impairment.
  • Has mental health needs including dementia or a personality disorder.
  • Lacks mental capacity to make particular decisions.
  • Has a long-term illness/condition.
  • Misuses substances or alcohol.

Unpaid carers such as partners, relatives or friends can also get help if they are being abused.

Reporting abuse

For emergencies: 999.

For advice or non-emergencies dial: 101.

Textphone: 18001 101.

Bradford Council
If you think an adult is at risk of abuse or you are worried that someone might be being  abused raise your concern at:

If you are unable to complete the online form, contact the Adult Protection Unit on 01274 431077.

Monday to Thursday: 8.30am to 4.30pm, Friday: 8.30am to 4pm.

Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team
Tel: 01274 431010 (outside office hours).

What is abuse?

Abuse is treating someone in a way that harms, hurts or exploits them. Abuse can take many forms. It can range from treating someone disrespectfully in a way that significantly undermines their worth and affects their quality of life, to causing physical pain and suffering. It includes harm, exploitation and neglect and is not always easy to identify. Below is a list of several types of abuse.

Neglect and acts of omission

Neglect is when someone says they are going to help someone by giving them care and support but they do not.

Acts of omission is when someone ignores situations when someone else is being neglected.

Neglect can be intentional or unintentional.

Some examples of neglect include:

  • Leaving someone alone for a long time.
  • Ignoring medical or physical care needs.
  • Failing to provide access to the right health or social care services.
  • Withholding medication, not giving adequate nutrition and heating.


Self-neglect is when someone does not take care of themselves properly. This can put their safety, health and well-being in danger.

Some examples include when someone:

  • Does not keep clean.
  • Does not look after their own health.
  • Does not clean where they live.
  • Lives in hoarding conditions by keeping lots of things around them.

Self-neglect may happen because a person is unable or unwilling (or both) to manage to care for them self or their home.

Sometimes some people choose to live like this and it is important their rights are upheld if they have the mental capacity to make the decision.


Financial and material abuse
Financial and material abuse is when someone takes someone’s money or things without asking.

Some examples of financial and material abuse include:

  • Theft, which is stealing money, benefits or things.
  • Fraud.
  • Misuse of a person’s property or things.
  • Internet scamming.
  • Putting pressure on someone to change their financial arrangements, such as wills, property or inheritance.
  • Misuse of any lasting power of attorney or appointeeship.


Discriminatory abuse
Discriminatory abuse is when someone says or does bad things to someone else because they are different to them.

People are treated unfairly because of their:

  • Race or religion.
  • Gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • Age.
  • Disability.

Some examples of discrimination include:

  • Harassment.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Physical and psychological abuse.
  • Hate incidents or hate crime.


Organisational abuse
Organisational abuse is when any form of abuse is caused by an organisation. It can include neglect and poor practice within a specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, or where care is given to someone in their own home.

This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.


Physical abuse
Physical abuse is causing physical pain, injury or suffering to someone else.

Some examples of physical abuse include:

  • Hitting.
  • Slapping.
  • Pushing.
  • Kicking.
  • Burning.
  • Not giving someone their medication, or too much medication or the wrong medication.
  • The use of illegal restraint for example, where someone holds another person by forcing them down.
  • Inappropriate physical sanctions like locking someone up in a room or tying them to furniture.


Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is when someone does sexual things to another person who does not want it happening to them or may not understand what’s happening.

Some examples of sexual abuse include:

  • Forcing someone to have sex against their will, which is known as rape.
  • Sexual assault.
  • Touching.
  • Making sexual remarks.
  • Making someone take part in sexual acts, like made to watch sexual activity or films.
  • Sexual exploitation.


Psychological abuse
Psychological abuse is also known as emotional abuse. This is when someone says and does bad things to upset and hurt someone else.

Some examples of psychological abuse include:

  • Humiliating.
  • Blaming.
  • Controlling.
  • Intimidating.
  • Harassing.
  • Verbal abuse.
  • Bullying and cyber bullying.
  • Isolating.
  • Threatening to harm or abandon (leave someone in need).
  • Coercion.
  • Stopping someone from seeing other people e.g. their friends and family.
  • Stopping someone from having access to services or support.


Domestic violence and abuse
Domestic violence and abuse happens between people in relationships or family members. It is a pattern of behaviour which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another.

Examples of domestic violence and abuse include:

  • Emotional abuse/psychological abuse.
  • Physical abuse.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Financial abuse.
  • Honour based violence.
  • Forced marriage.
  • Female genital mutilation.


Modern Slavery
Modern Slavery is when someone is forced to work or do other things they do not want to.

It is a growing problem that can happen to men, women and children. People are treated like slaves; they are forced and tricked into a life of abuse. It is treating people in an inhumane way. This means when someone is cruel, does not have compassion and they can make people suffer.

Modern Slavery can take many forms and some examples include:

  • Trafficking people where the traffickers are the slave masters.
  • Forcing someone to work, they can be made to work for free in a shop, in a factory or even sell sex.
  • Forcing someone to be a domestic slave and not letting people have their own life.