Together we can protect vulnerable adults, prevent and stop abuse from happening.
Where to find help
Who are vulnerable adults
A vulnerable adult is any person aged 18 or over who is in need of community care services by reason of:
- Mental or other disability, age or illness and;
- Who is or may be unable to take care of him/herself; or
- Unable to protect him/herself from significant harm or serious exploitation.
Abuse or mistreatment
- Can be a violation on individuals’ human or civil rights by another person or persons;
- May consist of a single act or repeated acts;
- Can occur in any relationship or setting;
- May result in harm to, or serious exploitation of, the person subjected to it;
- Physical, including hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint, or inappropriate sanctions;
- Sexual, including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the person has not consented or was pressured into consenting to;
- Psychological, including emotional abuse, threats, humiliation, intimidation, verbal abuse;
- Financial or material, including theft, fraud, exploitation, the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits;
- Neglect, including ignoring medical or physical care needs, the withholding of adequate food, heat, clothing and medication;
- Discriminatory, including racist, sexist, based on a person’s disability, and other forms of similar treatment;
- Institutional abuse or mistreatment by a regime or by any individual within any building where care is provided.
Although the above list is fairly comprehensive it is not exhaustive.
Who does it
Sadly it can be anyone including ones nearest and dearest. Research by Action on Elder Abuse suggests that as many as one in 11 older people in the UK are mistreated or neglected by those they trust the most. Two thirds of these are abused by members of their own family. Care staff, too, can be abusers. There are many examples of this, including those where the abusers have deliberately chosen to work in environments where there will be vulnerable people, such as those with learning disabilities.
Any types of abuse may be carried out as the result of deliberate actions, negligence or ignorance.
Where does it happen
Abuse can happen anywhere – in a person’s home, in the street, in a residential or nursing home, at a day centre or resource centre, in a hospital or indeed any place where vulnerable people might be.
What is being done
Cheshire West and Chester Social Services have the lead role in the inter-agency Policy, Procedures and Guidance Document on the protection of vulnerable adults from abuse. If you contact your local Access Team, you will be asked for basic information about the person you are concerned about, and who is the alleged abuser. You will be asked about yourself, and what you heard or saw. Information will then be shared on a “needs to know” basis, but you will be kept informed about who has to be told, for example, the police if a crime may have been committed.
Together all the relevant agencies will work with the person who may be being abused, to establish what has happened, and what action the person wants taking next. Work will also be done with the alleged abuser, and multi-disciplinary options will be created which will prevent, reduce or stop further abuse from happening.
Break the silence - contact social services, or any of the organisation listed, you will be believed and given advice about what to do.
For more details on services for older people please contact your local Access Team.
- The Ann Craft Trust - protecting people with learning disabilities from abuse
- Elder Abuse - Age UK Cheshire website
Information for professionals working with vulnerable
- Abuse or Mistreatment of Vulnerable Adults - Information for Professionals and Checklist (PDF, 238KB)