5.4 Appendix 4 – Safeguarding information leaflet for the public

What to do if you or someone you know may be being abused or neglected

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be being abused, neglected or exploited, please say something. 

Everyone is responsible for preventing abuse by raising any concerns they have – it really is ‘Everyone’s Business’.


Information for the public 

Abuse and neglect could be prevented if concerns are identified and raised as early as possible.  It is important that everyone knows what to look for, and who they can go to for advice and support.

Changes in someone’s physical or emotional state, or injuries that cannot be explained, may be a sign of abuse. 

The Sussex Safeguarding Adults Boards have arrangements in place to prevent and protect people who may be at risk of, or who are experiencing, abuse or neglect.  This is set out in the ‘Sussex Safeguarding Adults Policy and Procedures’:


Who may be at risk of abuse or neglect? 

People who are 18 years or over, who have care and support needs because of their age, physical or learning disability, mental-health needs, or other illness are, or may be, unable to protect themselves from abuse or neglect because of their care and support needs. 

Other adults who may be at risk include people who are:

  • unpaid carers,
  • homeless,
  • experiencing domestic violence,
  • addicted to drugs or alcohol,
  • badly treated and forced to work for little or no pay, or
  • forced to marry.


Abuse can happen anywhere, for example:

  • at home,
  • in a care home, hospital or day service,
  • at work or at school or college, or
  • in a public place or in the community.


Abuse can be caused by anyone, for example:

  • a partner, carer, relative, child, neighbour or friend,
  • a health, social-care or other worker, whether they are paid or a volunteer,
  • a stranger, or
  • another person with care and support needs. 

Abuse can be deliberate or unintentional.  Some people may not be able to tell anyone that they are being abused or neglected. 

Sometimes it happens if a carer is having difficulty coping.


Abuse can take many forms 

Physical abuse  This includes being pushed, shaken, pinched, hit, held down, locked in a room, restrained inappropriately, or knowingly giving a person too much or not enough medication. 

Sexual abuse  This involves a person being made to take part in sexual activity when they do not, or cannot, agree to this.  It includes rape, indecent exposure, inappropriate looking or touching, or sexual activity where the other person is in a position of power or authority. 

Financial abuse  This includes misusing or stealing a person’s money or belongings, fraud, postal or internet scams tricking people out of money, or pressuring a person into making decisions about their financial affairs, including decisions involving wills and property. 

Neglect  This involves not meeting a person’s physical, medical or emotional needs, either deliberately, or by failing to understand these.  It includes ignoring a person’s needs, or not providing the person with essential things to meet their needs, such as medication, food, water, shelter and warmth. 

Self-neglect  This involves a person being unable, or unwilling, to care for their own essential needs, including their health or surroundings (for example, their home may be infested by rats or very unclean, or there may be a fire risk due to their obsessive hoarding). 

Psychological or emotional abuse  This includes a person being shouted at, ridiculed or bullied, threatened, humiliated, blamed for something they haven’t done, or controlled by intimidation or fear.  It includes harassment, verbal abuse, cyber-bullying (bullying which takes place online or through a mobile phone) and isolation. 

Discriminatory abuse  This includes forms of harassment, ill-treatment, threats or insults because of a person’s race, age, culture, gender, gender identity, religion, sexuality, physical or learning disability, or mental-health needs.  Discriminatory abuse can also be called ‘hate crime’. 

Modern slavery  This includes slavery, a person being forced to work for little or no pay (including in the sex trade), being held against their will, tortured, abused or treated badly by others. 

Domestic violence This includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse by someone who is a family member or is, or has been, in a close relationship with the person being abused.  This may be a one-off incident or a pattern of incidents or threats, violence, controlling or coercive behaviour.  It also includes so called ‘honour’ based violence, being forced to marry or undergo genital mutilation. 

Organisational abuse  This includes neglect and providing poor care in a care setting such as a hospital or care home, or in a person’s own home.  This may be a one-off incident, repeated incidents or on-going ill-treatment.  It could be due to neglect or poor care because of the arrangements, processes and practices in an organisation.


What can you do? 

No-one should have to live with abuse or neglect.  It is always wrong, whatever the circumstances.  Don’t assume that someone else is doing something about the situation. 

You can use the information in this leaflet to get advice or raise a concern.

  • If you, or the person you are concerned about, are injured, call an ambulance or a doctor.
  • If you think a crime has been committed, contact the police.
  • Contact Adults’ Services or one of the independent agencies for advice (see the back page for details). You can do this without giving your name.
  • Make a note of your concerns, what has happened and anything you have done about it.
  • If you are concerned about someone you know, try to speak to them, if it is safe to do this. Tell them why you are concerned and ask them what they want you to do about it.  Always try to get them to agree to getting help.


How to report suspected abuse of an adult at risk

  • Contact Brighton & Hove City Council Adult Social Care on 01273 295555
  • Contact East Sussex Adult Social Care Direct on 0345 60 80 191
  • Contact West Sussex Adult Services on 01243 642121


Other useful contacts 

Elder Abuse Response

Phone: 080 8808 8141



Healthwatch 0300 012 0122


Public Concern at Work (for staff concerned about bad practice in the workplace)

Phone: 020 7404 6609


NHS 111 Service (24 Hour)

Phone: 111



Phone: 116 123


Carers Direct National Helpline

Freephone: 0300 123 1053


Care Quality Commission

Phone: 03000 616161 


National Domestic Violence Helpline

(24-hour helpline)

Freephone: 0808 2000 247


Sussex Police (non emergencies): Phone 101

Emergencies phone: 999


What will happen next?

If you report a concern to us, we will:

  • talk to the person at risk to find out what they want to happen;
  • support the person to have an advocate (someone to represent them) if they need one;
  • respond professionally and sensitively and take your concerns seriously;
  • talk to the police if a crime may have been committed;
  • talk to other agencies that need to be involved; and
  • agree the best way of helping, including other types of support. 

If following the safeguarding adults procedures is the best way to provide help, we will:

  • work with the person to help keep them safe;
  • make a plan to look into the concerns; and
  • check with the person that what they wanted to happen has happened. 

If the person refuses help, but others may be at risk, we will need to take appropriate action.  However, we will always keep them informed about any action we decide to take. 

We can provide this information in large print, in Braille, in audio format or in community languages.  Please phone 01243 777100.

lscb-logo 01273 481544
wsscb-logo 0330 222 5296
bhlscb-logo 01273 292379

This page is correct as printed on Monday 19th of March 2018 03:06:23 AM please refer back to this website ( for updates.