Protecting adults from abuse
This page has information on the following:
If you think someone who has care and support needs is being abused or you think their safety is at risk, then it is important to report your concerns to us by calling the number below.
You must never assume that somebody else will recognise and report what you have seen or heard.
Where a crime has been committed or if you're worried about someone's immediate safety, contact the police by dialling 999.
British Sign Language (BSL) speakers can make a free video call to 999 using the 999 BSL website or app.
You can also contact the Relay UK Service if you have accessibility needs. Further information is available at Relay UK.
To report concerns about an adult please contact us:
Monday - Friday* 9am - 5pm
*Excludes Bank Holidays
A trained member of staff will be available between 9am - 5pm, Monday-Friday (excluding Bank Holidays).
This number is to refer concerns about abuse of a adult. If you have other welfare concerns for an adult please contact Staffordshire Cares.
Out of hours
If you have a concern about the safety of a vulnerable adult and need to report it overnight, over a weekend or on a Bank Holiday, contact the Emergency Duty Service:
For further guidance on reporting abuse of an adult please see the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership Adult Safeguarding Board website.
Concerns about a child
If your concern is regarding a child (someone under the age of 18), please see our First Response page for information on how to contact the right team.
The Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent adult safeguarding enquiry procedures provide guidance on how the abuse of adults with care and support needs will be responded to.
The Care Act, 2014, establishes a duty on local authorities to make an enquiry to decide whether action should be taken whenever it appears that an adult with care and support needs is experiencing abuse or is at risk of abuse.
These procedures relate to matters concerning the abuse and exploitation and are not invoked simply in response to a perception of general vulnerability.
For further information on the Adult Safeguarding procedures please see the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership Adult Safeguarding Board website.
Physical abuse includes:
- misuse of medication
- inappropriate physical sanctions
Domestic abuse includes:
- emotional abose
- so called 'honour' based violence
Sexual abuse includes:
- indecent exposure
- sexual harassment
- inappropriate looking or touching
- sexual teasing or innuendo
- sexual photography
- subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts
- sexual assault
- sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting
Psychological abuse includes:
- emotional abuse
- threats of harm or abandonment
- deprivation of contact
- verbal abuse
- cyber bullying
- unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks
Financial or material abuse includes:
- internet scamming
- coercion in relation to an adult's financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions
- the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits
Modern slavery abuse includes:
- human trafficking
- forced labour and domestic servitude
- traffickers and slave masters using whatever means they have at their disposal and coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhuane treatment
Read 'Modern Slavery: How the UK is leading the fight' (PDF) on the Government's website.
Discriminatory abuse includes:
- slurs or similar treatment because of:
- gender or gender identity
- sexual orientation
Read 'Discrimination: your rights' for further information on the Government's website.
Including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s 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.
Neglect and acts of omission, including:
- ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs
- failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services
- the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating
This covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding. It should be noted that self-neglect may not prompt a section 42 enquiry. An assessment should be made on a case by case basis. A decision on whether a response is required under safeguarding will depend on the adult’s ability to protect themselves by controlling their own behaviour. There may come a point when they are no longer able to do this, without external support.
What is adult safeguarding (section 42 of the Care Act, 2014)?
Local authorities (social services) have a duty to look into concerns of abuse relating to adults who have care and support needs.
Adult safeguarding relates to adults who have care and support needs that are experiencing, or at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation. In other words, being made to do things they don't want to in return for money, accommodation, 'love' and presents for example.
Adults with care and support needs may:
- be elderly and frail because of ill-health, disability or condition such as dementia
- have a learning disability
- have a physical disability or be blind or deaf
- have mental health needs including dementia
- not have capacity to make some decisions and is in need of care and support
You will be asked about your own details but as a member of the public, you can choose to remain anonymous.
What happens next depends on the seriousness of the situation.
In response to a call, trained staff will carry out a careful and sensitive enquiry in line with locally agreed procedures.
The information provided will be discussed with other agencies including the police.
Meetings may be held to decide what will happen next. Information and advice will be offered so that choices can be made, and help can be provided.