Report abuse of an adult

What to do if you think an adult is being abused or is at risk of abuse.

What to do in an emergency

Call 999 if you think a crime has been committed or someone is in immediate danger.

What is abuse?

Examples of abuse include:

  • Domestic violence: abuse that takes place between family members or intimate partners regardless of gender or sexuality. It can consist of psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse and so-called 'honour' based violence
  • Sexual abuse: any sexual act that a person does not agree to
  • Psychological or emotional: this is when someone makes threats of harm, abandonment, humiliation, intimidation or verbal abuse
  • Financial: this includes stealing someone's money or denying them access to their money, property or possessions
  • Neglect or acts of omission: this can be both physical and emotional. It could be failing to keep an adult at risk clean or warm, not promoting optimum health, not providing adequate nutrition or medication. It could also mean preventing someone from making their own choices
  • Discriminatory: abusive remarks or actions relating to a person's age, race, religion, sex or abilities
  • Organisational abuse: this happens when the routines in use force residents or service users to sacrifice their own needs, wishes or preferred lifestyle to the needs of the institution or service provider
  • Modern slavery: such as human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.

You can learn more about types of abuse.

How to report the abuse of an adult

If you're a member of the public

You can report the abuse of an adult to Suffolk County Council. We call this raising a safeguarding concern.

Make a safeguarding referral online using our Suffolk Adult Care Portal. You'll need to create an account, which is quick and easy.

Proceed to safeguarding referral form

Please use this form for less urgent referrals only. If you feel the person is in immediate danger please call Customer First on 0808 800 4005 rather than completing this form, or dial 999 in an emergency.

Anonymous referrals

You can make a referral without using the portal if you prefer to remain anonymous.

If you're a professional

You can make a safeguarding referral using the same form as members of the public.

If you need guidance on whether to make a safeguarding referral, contact the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0345 606 1499.

What happens after raising a concern?

  • We will do all we can to make sure the person and/or persons are safe and protected
  • If a crime is taking place, we'll contact the police
  • Depending on the circumstances we won't necessarily contact you. Each situation is different, and we will consider the person at risks wishes, seeking their consent to share information
  • Your concern will be taken seriously and passed to the most appropriate team.

Self-neglect and hoarding

You can complete a referral form if you think an adult with care and support needs may be at risk from self-neglect and/or hoarding: Self-neglect and hoarding referral form for professionals (Word, 26KB)

Complete the referral form after reading the:

You should send all completed forms to customer.first@suffolk.gov.uk.

Reporting the abuse of a child or young person

Find out about reporting a child at risk of harm, abuse or neglect (safeguarding).