Adults at risk

Abuse is an action by another person that causes significant harm to someone.

It can happen anywhere – in the home, a public place, hospital, college or care home. It can also happen in many different ways and include neglect, which can be just as harmful as other types of abuse.

Types of abuse


Abuse can take several different forms, including:

  • discriminatory – harassment or unfair treatment relating to someone’s age, disability, gender identity, race, religion or sexual orientation or any other actual or perceived difference
  • domestic – an incident or pattern of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse by someone who is or has been a partner or family member
  • financial – stealing money or valuables from someone, coercing someone to spend their money in a way they’re not happy with, doorstep scams and online scams
  • neglect – not being taken proper care of, including being denied food or help to change dirty or wet clothes and being denied access to medical treatment
  • physical – including hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, being denied food or water or access to a bathroom
  • psychological – threatening to hurt or abandon someone, stopping someone from seeing other people, humiliating, blaming or controlling, intimidating or harassing, verbally abusing someone and online bullying
  • sexual – anything that makes someone else feel uncomfortable, including sexual comments, leering, groping, rubbing indecent acts, taking photos of a sexual nature without consent, sexual assault and rape
Concerned? Tell someone


If you have any concerns about your own or someone else’s welfare or safety, you must report it. It is better to tell someone, rather than failing to tell anyone and you or the person you are worried about possibly being exposed to further risk of harm.

In an emergency, always call 999.

To talk to us about your own situation or report your concerns about someone else when it’s not an emergency, call us on 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016. You can also call your local police on 101, visit your nearest police station or speak to a police officer or police community support officer in person.

Please be ready to give as many details as you can, including:

  • Your name or the name of the person you are calling about
  • Where you or the person you are calling about live
  • Why you are concerned about your own or someone else’s welfare and safety


You can also ask for help for yourself or report concerns about someone else to your local council’s adult social care department. You will be able to find contact details on your council’s website. Find your local council.

If you don’t want to speak to the police or your council, tell someone you trust. This could be a friend or your GP. You can also contact Action on Elder Abuse – a charity that works to protect the abuse of vulnerable older adults.


⬅️ Back to keeping yourself and other adults safe

Contact Us

To report a crime or incident, call

0800 40 50 40

or text 61016

In an emergency call 999

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