Safeguarding adults at risk

Adult abuse - click here to report it

A vulnerable adult, or in more recent terms an adult at risk, means any person who may need extra support with every day living tasks, and may be unable to protect themselves against harm or exploitation. Adults at risk of abuse include people with a wide range of disabilities and circumstances

They could be someone who is frail or with a serious health condition, someone with a visual or hearing impairment, a physical disability, learning disability or mental health condition including dementia. It could also be people who are carers for an adult at risk. People who are victims of domestic violence, or addicted to drugs or other substances may also be vulnerable.

What do we mean by abuse?

Abuse is where a person who is unable to protect themselves is ill treated or neglected. This may be an isolated incident or happen repeatedly over time. Abuse may be deliberate but can also be a result of poor care or ignorance.

A person may be neglected, persuaded to agree to something against their will or taken advantage of because they do not fully understand the consequences of their choices or actions.

For further information of what constitutes abuse  see our 'What is abuse?' page.

A person who harms a vulnerable adult could be anyone. They could be someone the vulnerable adult knows, such as a partner or other relative, a friend or neighbour, paid staff, carers or volunteers, or another vulnerable adult.

Abuse could take place anywhere - in the person’s own home, in a residential or nursing home, a hospital or GP surgery, a day centre, work place, or a public place.

What should I do if I suspect abuse?

If you, or another vulnerable adult you know is being harmed in any way, please do not ignore it. No abuse is acceptable. Don’t assume someone else is doing something about the situation.

Read our examples of what we can do to help adults at risk.

Adult abuse - Break the Silence

To report abuse of vulnerable adult, use our online adult abuse reporting form or call Brighton & Hove City Council Adult Social Care on 01273 295555.

Staff and professionals to use Safeguarding Adults at Risk Alert eForm [517kb].

To report a crime call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999.

In an emergency phone 999. 

Further information about Safeguarding Adults

Follow the links for further information about Safeguarding, Dignity in Care and Mental Capacity Act 2005.