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You are here:home > Living > Adult social care > Safeguarding adults from abuse

Safeguarding adults from abuse

1. What is meant by safeguarding adults?

Safeguarding adults refers to the steps that public services must take to protect vulnerable people at risk of abuse. In the past this has been termed "adult protection, protection from abuse and elder abuse."

Abuse is anything that harms another person and might include:
• physical abuse such as hitting, pushing, locking someone in a room
• verbal abuse such as shouting, swearing
• emotional abuse such as bullying, taunting or humiliating someone
• sexual abuse such as inappropriate touching, forcing someone to take part in any sexual act against their will
• financial abuse such as misusing, withholding or taking someone's money
• neglect such as not providing necessary food, care or medicine
• discrimination such as ill treatment due to the person's age, gender, disability or religious beliefs.

People who require care and support need to be able to trust and depend on the people they rely on for help. No abuse is acceptable. Some abuse is a criminal offence and must be reported to the Police as soon as possible.

2. Who might be at risk?

People who are vulnerable and are unable to protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation due to a physical disability, mental ill-health, learning disability, age or frailty.

3. Who might abuse?

Abuse can happen anywhere and can be carried out by anyone. This could be family, friends, neighbours, paid staff, carers or volunteers. It could also be other service users, tenants or strangers.

4. What does the council do to tackle abuse?

Southampton City Council, Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council have produced a joint policy on safeguarding adults in partnership with health services and Hampshire police. This explains what we will do if the abuse of a vulnerable person is suspected or reported to us. If you contact us because you suspect that a vulnerable adult is being abused, or because you are being abused yourself, you will be able to get help and support. We will take any report of abuse seriously and we will look into the matter fully and fairly.

5. What do I do if I am being abused or if I suspect someone else is being abused?

If you are being abused, or you think someone else is, please call the Adult Contact Team or visit our Reporting Abuse and Concerns online page. For more information on what to do you can request a copy of our leaflet, Speak Out, from the Adult Contact Team or read the leaflet which can be downloaded from the link below.

6. If you are a care professional and have concerns about abuse

Please use the Alerter Process which can be found on the Practice Tools for Professionals Page.

Downloadable documents

Icon Name of file Size Download time
Image Speak Out leaflet 970 KB 4secs @ 2Mbps
Image The Whistleblowing Helpline 744 KB 3secs @ 2Mbps
Link to download Adobe Acrobat if required

Related links

This website
VIP Social Care Sector Training
Other websites
Reporting abuse and concerns

Contact information