Raising a concern about someone - public form

How to tell us if you are worried about yourself or another vulnerable adult - public form.

Warning If you or the person you wish to raise a concern about is in immediate danger, call the emergency services on 999.

This page is for members of the public who wish to raise an alert because they are concerned for themselves or someone else.

If you are a professional, for example - a doctor or a social worker, please use this form.

What safeguarding adults mean

Safeguarding means protecting adults at risk, enabling them to live safely and free from abuse and neglect.  Safeguarding is everyone's responsibility.

Who is an 'adult at risk'

An adult at risk is someone who

  • has care and support needs
  • is at risk of being abused or neglected
  • is unable to protect themselves against abuse or neglect because of those needs.

Types of abuse

Abuse happens when someone hurts you or treats you badly. It can be accidental, deliberate or due to a lack of training. There doesn't need to be an injury for abuse to have taken place. If a person is being abused in one way, they are often also being abused in other ways.

  • Physical abuse includes hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking and restraint.
  • Sexual abuse includes rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented, could not consent, or was pressured into consenting.
  • Psychological abuse includes emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.
  • Financial or material abuse includes theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
  • Neglect includes ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health care, social care, education services or misuse of medication, adequate nutrition or heating.
  • Self-neglect is when the person isn’t meeting their own needs, such as adequately feeding themselves or taking care of their own medical needs
  • Modern slavery includes forcing someone to work through threats, being dehumanised and bought/sold as property, being physically constrained and/or having restrictions placed upon their freedom. 
  • Domestic abuse includes incidents or a pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour, including sexual violence. 
  • Discriminatory abuse includes racist, sexist behaviour and harassment based on a person's ethnicity, race, culture, sexual orientation, age or disability.
  • Organisational or institutional abuse can happen in residential homes, nursing homes or hospitals when people are mistreated because of poor or inadequate care, neglect and poor practice.

Why you need to know this

When you raise a safeguarding concern you will be asked which form or forms of abuse you think the person is experiencing or is at risk of.

About abusers

An abuser is often well known to the person being abused and could be:

  • family members
  • professional staff
  • paid care workers
  • volunteers
  • other service users
  • neighbours
  • friends and associates
  • strangers.  

Signs of abuse

Watch out for:

  • multiple bruising or finger marks
  • injuries the person cannot give a good reason for
  • deterioration of health for no apparent reason
  • loss of weight
  • inappropriate or inadequate clothing
  • withdrawal or mood changes
  • a carer who is unwilling to allow access to the person
  • an individual who is unwilling to be alone with a particular carer
  • unexplained shortage of money.  

Where abuse happens

Abuse can occur in:

  • someone’s home
  • a carer's home
  • a day centre
  • a residential or nursing home
  • a hospital
  • a public place.

Who can report abuse

Anyone can report a safeguarding concern. For example, they might be friends, family members, carers, professionals working with adults with care and support needs, or someone who thinks they have been abused.

When you report abuse we will:

  • listen to you
  • take your concerns seriously
  • respond sensitively
  • consider any immediate danger that the vulnerable adult may be in
  • talk to the police if it is a criminal matter
  • make enquiries about the concerns
  • consider the wishes of the adult at risk
  • develop a plan with the adult that will keep them safe in the future.

If you suspect someone is being abused

Try to speak to the person about what you have noticed, being as open and honest as possible.  Allow the person to talk and listen carefully to what they tell you, offering to seek help if that is appropriate.

Some people may want to talk but may be worried about how you might react so it is important to stay calm if they begin telling you that they have been abused. Some people may ask you to promise not to tell anyone else about the abuse. Whether you are a friend or relative, you should always be honest and never make false promises.  

You must remember that the person is an adult, and should never be treated like a child; even if they appear confused and disoriented (he or she can still react to what you are saying and how you say it). Try not to take over or be over-protective, and remember that you should not lead someone into saying something.

If you are being abused

It is not easy sometimes to accept that you are being abused, and it can be even more difficult to tell someone else.  Sometimes this is because the person who is doing it is a close family member or a friend, and sometimes it is because you think people will laugh at you or it will affect how your community or friends think about you.  

If you receive care or support from health services or residential homes or a home care agency, regulatory bodies can take action.

If you live in your home and do not receive the care you are still entitled to protection.

How to raise a concern if you are a professional

Use this form to raise a concern if you are a professional person, for example, a doctor or a social worker.

How to raise a concern online if you are a member of the public

Use the online form below to make your report.

You will need the following:

Report a concern about yourself or someone - public form