Safeguarding Adults

500,000 older people are abused in the UK every year. Safeguarding is everyone’s business, so find out what to do if you are worried about someone.

Safeguarding adults is everybody’s business and doing nothing isn’t an option – you must report your concerns. This information on this web page is to help inform the public about Bristol Community Health’s role in Safeguarding Adults. If you require further information please go to Bristol City Council Safeguarding Adults website.

Who are adults at risk?

An adult at risk is an adult who:

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the council is meeting any of those needs) and
  • is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect and
  • as a result of those care and support needs, is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.

What is meant by abuse and neglect?

Abuse is the violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by someone else. Abuse might be unintentional, the important factor is whether the adult at risk is harmed or not. Abuse can be:

  • Physical abuse – any form of assault, over-medication, restraint or poor manual handling practice.
  • Sexual abuse – rape or any sexual act which was not actively consented to or the person did not have the capacity to understand.
  • Psychological / emotional abuse – threats, intimidation, coercion, harassment or bullying.
  • Financial abuse – theft, borrowing money without repayment and any pressure in connection with wills or property, possessions or benefits.
  • Neglect – ignoring medical or physical needs, not providing access to appropriate care, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate food, water and heating.
  • Discriminatory abuse – all forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment based on a person’s disability, ethnic origin, gender or sexuality. This is often called hate crime.
  • Institutional abuse – repeated instances of poor care, ill treatment of vulnerable adults, and unsatisfactory professional practice. This is often an indicator of more serious problems.
  • Modern slavery – slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.
  • Self-neglect – this covers a wide range of behaviour; neglecting to care for personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour like hoarding which puts the person, or others, at risk.

What to do if you suspect abuse

If you are worried about someone or suspect abuse you must report your concerns to:

Bristol: Care Direct
0117 922 2700
South Gloucestershire: 01454 868007

BANES: 01225 396000

The Police
Telephone 101
In an emergency telephone 999
Textphone 18001 followed by 101
Texphone in an emergency 18000

If reporting the abuse puts you at risk you can chose to do so anonymously

How we help to prevent abuse in Bristol

We are committed to ensuring that all vulnerable adults are protected and safeguarded from abuse, and we are registered with the Care Quality Commission as we provide regulated services. Safeguarding people who use services from abuse regulation 11 (outcome 7) is integral to us as we work predominantly with adults and older people who have complex healthcare needs.

We are a member of the Bristol Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board (SAB) and contribute to the work of safeguarding adults in Bristol.

We also have a Safeguarding team who also provide expert advice and support to our own staff who have concerns about abuse. Alongside this all our clinical staff receive in-house safeguarding awareness training (level 1) and safeguarding adults training (level 2). This training is updated every 3 years and the Mental Capacity Act (2005) is incorporated into the training.

If you have a concern relating to a child please refer to our Safeguarding children page or Bristol City Council Safeguarding children website.