Help for adults being abused or neglected
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Help for adults being abused or neglected

Everyone has the right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. Abuse and neglect can occur anywhere: in your own home or a public place, while you are in hospital or attending a day centre, or in a college or care home.

You may be living alone or with others. The person causing the harm may be a stranger to you, but more often than not the person is known, and it can be the case that you usually feel safe with them. They are usually in a position of trust and power, such as a health and care professional, relative or neighbour.

If a person (child or adult) is in immediate danger, dial 999 and ask for the police. To report suspected abuse or neglect of an adult:

  • Contact Adult Social Care (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm): Tel: 0113 222 4401. If you are unable to use the telephone you can email Adult Social Care using the form in the Contact us section on this page
  • On weekends, Bank Holidays, and all other times you can call the Emergency Duty Team on 0771 2106378. If you are unable to use the telephone you can email the Emergency Duty Team at

NHS Choices provides a comprehensive overview of the different forms abuse can take, advice for those who think they or others are being abused or neglected and how to spot signs of abuse.

Action on Elder Abuse is a charity who work to protect and prevent the abuse of vulnerable older adults. they are the only charity in the UK working exclusively on the issue.

The Leeds Safeguarding Adults Board is a statutory body, made up of organisations that work together to safeguard adults from abuse and neglect. 

To report suspected abuse or neglect of a child visit the 'Report a child protection concern' page which can be found in the Related Pages section on this page.

Who is at risk?

An 'adult at risk' is a person:

  • 18 years or older
  • in need of extra support because of their age, disability, mental health needs, drug and alcohol misuse or other illnesses
  • who is or may be unable to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm

What is abuse?

Abuse and neglect can take different forms:

Physical abuse - this may involve being hit, slapped or kicked. It could involve being locked in a room, or being restrained inappropriately.

Sexual abuse - involves someone being made to take part in a sexual activity when the person does not, or is not able to give their consent.

Emotional or psychological abuse - includes being shouted at, ridiculed or bullied. It also includes being made to feel frightened or being pressurised into decisions.

Financial or material abuse - involves the misuse, withholding or theft of someone's money or belongings.

Neglect - involves a failure to provide care that results in the person being harmed. It might include being left with no food, or not receiving help with health or care needs.

Discriminatory abuse - involves ill treatment or harassment based on the person's age, gender, sexuality, disability, race or religious belief.

When any of these types of abuse are caused by an organisation, this is sometimes called Institutional abuse.


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