Help for adults at risk of abuse or neglect

Safeguarding means protecting someone’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. This is your right.

An adult at risk is of abuse or neglect is someone who has care and support needs and is therefore unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of, abuse or neglect.

Adult abuse or neglect is not acceptable. If you or someone you know is at risk of being abused or neglected, or experiencing abuse or neglect, tell someone.

Don’t ignore it.

Don’t assume that someone else is doing something about the situation. Tell us about it so that we can help

What to do

Report the abuse or neglect of an adult at risk to Access Point, the contact centre for Adult Social Care.

In an emergency, dial 999.

If you think a crime has taken place, but it is not an emergency, please call Sussex Police on 101.

If you need to discuss your concerns out of normal office hours, call the emergency out of hours duty service.

How we help

We aim to stop abuse or neglect wherever possible, prevent harm and reduce the risk of abuse or neglect to adults who need care and support.

To help us decide what to do, we'll always contact the adult at risk or experiencing abuse or neglect. What they want to happen is very important. We'll try to talk to them first, even if it is difficult for them to communicate what has happened.

If the person has substantial difficulty with being involved, then we may ask for an independent advocate to help them understand what is happening and to help them express their views.

The person telling us about the possible abuse or neglect can remain anonymous.

You can use the information in the what to do if someone you know may be being neglected or abused leaflet (PDF 434KB), to get advice or raise a concern.

What happens next

After talking with the person at risk or experiencing abuse or neglect we'll then make enquiries about the circumstances of the abuse or neglect.

We may talk to other people, such as family members, staff, GPs, friends and possibly the police. If the police tell us that a crime has been committed, then they may investigate what has happened.

We will support the adult at risk to help them decide what they want to happen and then concentrate on improving the situation for that person and address what has caused the abuse or neglect.

If we think that you or anyone you told us about is at immediate risk of harm we will act very quickly to protect you or the adult at risk of abuse or neglect

Who is an adult at risk of abuse or neglect?

An adult at risk of abuse or neglect is an adult who has care and support needs and who may be unable to protect themselves from either the risk of or the experience of abuse or neglect.

Abuse or neglect of an adult with care and support needs could happen anywhere, for example, in their own home, in a care home or nursing home, a hostel, in supported living, in homes where people are in Shared Lives arrangements or in hospital.

Examples of people who might be at risk of abuse or neglect include:

The definition of ‘abuse and neglect’

Abuse happens when a person who is unable to protect themselves is ill treated or neglected. It may be a one-off incident, or may happen repeatedly over time.

Anyone can harm an adult who is not able to protect themselves; for example, a partner, relative, friend, neighbour, care worker, and the abuse may take place anywhere, in a public or private place.

Find out more about what abuse and neglect is.

Keeping safe from fire at home

Domestic smoke alarms are not always sufficient to save lives of adults at risk in their own homes. Find out what additional resources are available. 

Support through a mental health crisis and preventing suicide

If you're feeling suicidal or in crisis the best thing is to talk. Speak to somebody you trust or contact a service who can offer you support.

If you receive a service from the Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, such as a psychiatrist or local community mental health team, contact them as soon as you can. It may be helpful to refer to your care plan, which should have details of who to contact in an emergency.

If you don't receive any of our services, the best thing to do is to get in touch with your own GP (family doctor). They may be able to help you themselves or put you in contact with more specialist mental health service like ours.

Find out more about suicide prevention and how to get support.

If you need to speak to someone urgently, or out of business hours, you may find one of the following external contacts helpful.

Organisations who can offer help and support

Mental Health Line
Support and information over the phone
Call: 0300 5000 101
Open Monday to Friday 5pm to 9am, and 24 hours at weekends and bank holidays.

Confidential and non-judgemental emotional support whenever you need someone to talk to
Call: 08457 90 90 90
Open 24 hours, seven days a week.

Out-of-hours phone helpline offering practical information, crisis care and emotional support to anybody affected by mental health problems.
Call: 0845 767 8000
Open 12pm to 2am.

Mind in Brighton & Hove
Promotes good mental health in Brighton & Hove and across Sussex.
Call: 01273 66 69 50

Other websites

Safe in the City
Part of the Safe in the City Partnership made up of the council's casework and projects teams and Brighton & Hove's neighbourhood policing teams. We work together with our partner agencies to tackle hate incidents and anti-social behaviour, and reduce crime.

Care Quality Commission
The independent regulator of health and social care in England whose role it is to make sure hospitals, care homes, dental and general practices and other care services in England provide people with safe, effective and high-quality care.
Call: 03000 61 61 61

Speak Out 
Learning disabilities advocate - volunteer advocates work with individuals with learning disabilities in Brighton & Hove
Call: 01273 421921
Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

Action on Elder Abuse
Call: 020 8835 9280.  UK helpline: 080 8808 8141

Carers UK 
Advice line: 0808 808 7777
open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm.

Domestic violence 24-hour free national helpline
Call: 0808 2000 247.

Sussex Police
Call: 0845 60 70 999

Think Drink Drugs 
For facts about drugs and alcohol, support services and latest information for Brighton & Hove and East Sussex.

Additional information