Advice for Adults Wanting Help


Advice for Adults Wanting Help

You have the right to be safe. If you need help, you can find advice here.

All adults have the right to live in safety and free from harm. Sometimes adults might need extra help so that they can live in the best way they can, despite any illness or disability they might have. This might include help with things like:

  • Getting out of bed
  • Washing and dressing
  • Getting to work
  • Cooking or eating meals
  • Seeing friends or being given a lift to a social event
  • Emotional support at a time of difficulty or stress
  • Caring for families
  • Being part of the community

Getting Extra Support

You can talk to Adult Social Services about getting extra help by:

Being referred by someone like a GP or District Nurse

Contacting Adult Social Services directly

Identifying Abuse or Neglect

Sometimes things may go wrong, or you might feel uncomfortable with a particular situation. It might be something happening in your own home or in a care home or hospital.

Mistreatment doesn’t always involve a stranger. Someone we think of as a friend could mistreat us, perhaps by taking money or by making us feel afraid, uncomfortable or hurt. Abuse and neglect come in many different shapes and sizes. Some examples are given below:

When someone physically hurts you or treats you badly

When someone does things, or says things that upset you or make you feel frightened

When someone makes you do things that you do not want to do

When someone fails to provide adequate care in order for you to live safely and without fear

When you do things that other people feel put your safety at risk

When someone takes money from you or pressures you to give them money

Recognising and Reporting Abuse

Adult abuse can take many forms:

Physical Abuse

This includes hitting, slapping, pinching, pushing, misuse of medication and inappropriate holding or restraint. It may also include inappropriate sanctions or punishment and rough handling.

Sexual Abuse

This includes rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, sexual acts or indecent exposure to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into, including ‘revenge porn’ and ‘sexting’. Any sexual relationship that develops between an adult in a position of trust and an adult with care and support needs may also constitute sexual abuse.

Financial Abuse

This includes fraud, theft, taking property without permission, assuming ownership of money or items, scamming (which can be in person, by letter, phone and internet), coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs including the writing of or changing a Will, and misuse of benefits. Financial abuse can involve small and large amounts of money or value of property. Financial abuse can be a criminal act, insidious and can be perpetrated by people well known to the adult at risk.

Discriminatory Abuse

Discriminatory abuse is often on the grounds of age, race, gender or gender identity, culture, religion, sexual orientation or disability. It can also include derogatory comments, harassment and being denied treatment on grounds of age or mental health.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

This includes threats of harm or abandonment, blackmail, deprivation of contact, humiliation and ridicule, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, isolation, cyber bullying, shouting and swearing, unreasonable support of services or support networks, denial of cultural or religious needs, denial of access to the development of social skills.

Neglect (and acts of omission)

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


This includes a wide range of behaviour including neglect to care for one’s personal hygiene, health, medical needs or surroundings and can include hoarding when it becomes extreme (including animal hoarding). In these circumstances there is no third-party abuser.

Organisational/institutional Abuse

This includes the mistreatment of people brought about by poor or inadequate care or support, or systematic poor practice that affects the whole care setting. It occurs when the individual’s wishes and needs are sacrificed for the smooth running of a group, service or organisation. Organisational abuse is often an indication a poorly led service or may exist in care settings where there is a delinquent or bullying culture within the staff group.

Domestic Abuse

This includes any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. Domestic abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse.

Modern Slavery

This includes offences of human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. Victims of modern slavery are exploited in a range of ways. Both adults and children can be trafficked for the purposes of exploitation, with sexual exploitation, labour exploitation or criminal exploitation being the most common types. Other types also exist, including domestic servitude.

Hate and Mate Crime

This includes when someone ‘makes friends’ with a person and goes on to abuse or exploit that relationship. The founding intention of the relationship, from the point of view of the perpetrator, is likely to be criminal. The relationship is likely to be of some duration and, if unchecked, may lead to a pattern of repeat and worsening abuse.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

This is recognised internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women and is an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

Getting Help

You may be unsure about whether what is happening to you counts as abuse or neglect. If you are worried about yourself, or a particular situation, there are people you can speak to and there is help available. Find someone you trust to talk to about how you are feeling, or Report a Concern.