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
Adult Social Care
0113 222 4401
(Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Weekends, Bank Holidays and all other times
Emergency Duty Team
0771 210 6378
To report suspected abuse or neglect of a child
Report a child protection concern page.
Who is at risk?
An 'adult at risk' is a person:
- 18 years or older
- Has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs)
- Is experiencing, or is at risk of abuse or neglect
- As a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it
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
- Domestic abuse - is an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse... by someone who is or has been an intimate partners or family member regardless of sexuality
- Modern slavery - includes human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.
- Self-neglect - includes situations where a person is declining support with their care needs, hygiene, health or their environment, and this is having a significant impact on their overall wellbeing
- When any of these types of abuse are caused by an organisation, this is sometimes called organisational abuse
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 works 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.