What is abuse?

How to help protect vulnerable adults and information on child protection.

What types of abuse are there?

There are many types of abusive behaviour, some of which are difficult to spot. Abuse can include:

  • Domestic violence: abuse that takes place between family members or intimate partners regardless of gender or sexuality. It can include 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 include 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

Any vulnerable adult can be at risk of abuse or harm. People can be abused in their own homes, in care homes, care homes with nursing, in day centres, at work, in hospitals, police stations and in public places.

For further details, including indicators of abuse, please see the Adult Safeguarding Policy and Operational Guidance on the SAB website www.suffolkas.org.

If someone is in immediate danger 

  • Call us on 0808 800 4005. Outside office hours your call will be diverted to the Emergency Duty Service, which handles calls that can't wait until the next working day
  • or call the Police on 999

Worried that someone is at risk of abuse, harm or neglect?

Complete an adult safeguarding form

To make a safeguarding referral you will need to use our Adult Care Portal. The first time you complete a form you will be asked to create a new portal account. It’s quick and easy to register for an account, and means the information you send to us is secure

If you’re worried about someone and want to let us know anonymously, please use our alternative adult safeguarding form

If you or someone you know needs help at home, or a family carer needs extra support:

Complete an adult request for support form

To make a request for support you will need to use our Adult Care Portal. The first time you complete a form you will be asked to create a new portal account. It’s quick and easy to register for an account, and means the information you send to us is secure

What to do if you’re worried about a child or young person

Suffolk County Council has a duty to make an enquiry, or cause others to do so when:

  • an adult has care and support needs
  • there is a suspicion abuse or neglect has occurred or is likely to
  • an adult is unable to safeguarding themselves due to care and support needs

An enquiry is action taken in response to a concern, before a formal enquiry under Section 42 of the Care Act is undertaken.