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:

  • not caring for someone properly (neglect)
  • pressuring someone to give away money or property
  • psychological (for example threats, harassment or forcing someone to live somewhere they don’t want to)
  • physical (for example violence)
  • sexual
  • modern slavery

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 a safeguarding referral.

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

Most people make a safeguarding referral using our portal. But 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 making a Referral?

Every concern raised about the possible abuse of an adult at risk is taken seriously.
Dependent on your concern, various teams may become involved. The most appropriate team relating to the concerns you have raised will take a further look in to the situation.

If you have made a referral and received confirmation, you can be assured that it is being taken seriously and followed up.

In some circumstances, we may not be able to share further information on the progress or outcome of your referral with you. Each situation is different and we will consider the person at risk or their representatives wishes, and proportionate, appropriate information sharing in order to keep people safe.

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

Reporting the abuse of a child or young person

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