Adult Abuse

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Safeguarding adults public information menuThis page contains information on resources for people whoneed protectionfrom physical, psychological, financial, discriminatory or sexual abuse:


Types of abuse highlighted under the Care Act 2014

  • Physical abuse – including hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.
  • Sexual abuse – including rape 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, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.
  • Exploitation – either opportunistically or premeditated, unfairly manipulating someone for profit or personal gain.
  • Financial or material abuse – including theft, fraud, exploitation, 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.
  • Neglect and acts of omission – including ignoring medical 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.
  • Discriminatory abuse – including discrimination on grounds of race, gender and gender identity , disability, sexual orientation, religion, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.
  • Institutional abuse – including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting like a hospital or care home, for example. This may range from isolated incidents to continuing ill-treatment.


Criteria for ‘Adult at Risk’

Where a local authority has reasonable cause to suspect that an adult in its area (whether or not ordinarily resident there)

  • (a) has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs),
  • (b) is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and
  • (c) as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.


Care Act 2014 – Eligibility Criteria for ‘Care and Support’

Social care plays an important role in helping people with care and support needs to live full lives, free from abuse and neglect. This includes preventing abuse, minimizing risk without taking control away from individuals, and responding proportionately if neglect or abuse has occurred.

Local authorities, care providers, health services, housing providers and criminal justice agencies are all important safeguarding partners.

The Care Act 2014 introduces new safeguarding duties for local authorities including; leading a multi-agency local adult safeguarding system; making or causing enquiries to be made where there is a safeguarding concern; hosting safeguarding adults boards; carrying out safeguarding adults reviews; and arranging for the provision of independent advocates.

National eligibility threshold: What the regulations say

An adult’s needs meet the eligibility criteria if:

  • (a) the adult’s needs arise from or are related to a physical or mental impairment or illness;
  • (b) as a result of the adult’s needs the adult is unable to achieve two or more of the outcomes specified in paragraph (2); and
  • (c) as a consequence there is, or is likely to be, a significant impact on the adult’s well-being.

The specified outcomes are:

  • (a) managing and maintaining nutrition;
  • (b) maintaining personal hygiene;
  • (c) managing toilet needs;
  • (d) being appropriately clothed;
  • (e) being able to make use of the adult’s home safely;
  • (f) maintaining a habitable home environment;
  • (g) developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships;
  • (h) accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering;
  • (i) making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community including public transport, and recreational facilities or services; and
  • (j) carrying out any caring responsibilities the adult has for a child.

For more information on the eligibility criteria, please visit our National Eligibility Criteria webpage.

What are we doing about adult abuse

The council expects health and social care services to work in a way that respects people’s dignity, independence, choice and safety and to have a zero tolerance of abuse. We will always take seriously any concerns about the abuse of an adult at risk and will investigateall allegations of abuse even if a person is in hospital, funding their own care services or is being funded by an authority outside Wiltshire.

How to report adult abuse

If you have any concerns about an adult at risk of being harmed or neglected please contact us. Telephone: 0300 456 0111

Age UK Protecting yourself guide

Wiltshire's Booklet about Safeguarding Adults

Swindon's Information about Safeguarding Adults

Wiltshire Safeguarding Adults Board

Page reviewed 13th April 2018