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Who to contact if you have a concern about a vulnerable adult

What should I do if I am worried about a vulnerable adult?

If you see, hear or suspect that an adult may be at risk of abuse or neglect, you must tell someone about it. If they are in immediate danger contact the police on 999.

Otherwise contact Care Direct on 0345 155 1007 or email customerservicecentrecaredirectteam-mailbox@devon.gov.uk.   

Protecting vulnerable adults

Vulnerable adults have the right to live their lives to the fullest potential, to be protected, to have the opportunity to participate in and enjoy activity, and to be treated with dignity and respect. 

For more information about protecting vulnerable adults in Devon, please visit: Devon Adult Safeguarding Board.

Types of abuse and neglect

The following descriptions of types of abuse and neglect can help decide whether someone is at risk:

Physical Abuse

Including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.

Domestic and sexual violence and abuse

Including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called 'honour' based violence.

Sexual abuse

Including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.

Psychological abuse

Including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.

Financial or material abuse

Including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult's financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Modern slavery 

Encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

Discriminatory abuse

Including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment; because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

Organisational abuse

Including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one's own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.

Neglect and acts of omission 

Including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

Self neglect 

This covers a wide range of behaviour including neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

For more information about adult safeguarding, please visit: Devon Adult Safeguarding Board.