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Reporting abuse of vulnerable adults or children

If you feel a vulnerable adult, child or young person is unable to make decisions for themselves and is likely to remain at risk of abuse, or you yourself are being abused, you should:

Contact the council:

  • If the person is an adult call the Adult Social Care First Response Team on 01925 443322
  • If the person is a child call the Children's Safeguarding/Social Work Team on 01925 443400 
  • In emergencies outside of office hours ring us on 01925 444400

Or the police:

  • Ring 101, or in emergencies outside of office hours ring 01925 652222
  • Serious situations where someone is in immediate danger or at risk of harm -  report the matter to the police immediately by dialling 999.

If you suspect a vulnerable person you know may be being abused please report it.  It's really important that you tell us, or the police, so that we can make sure the person is safe.

If you witness, suspect or have concerns that a vulnerable person is being abused it is your responsibility to report it.  Please remember professionals have a duty to report any suspected abuse of a vulnerable adult.

What happens next?

The council's social care team will take all of the relevant information and contact the appropriate teams in the council and/or our partner agencies.  

A safeguarding meeting may be arranged if abuse is suspected and relevant professionals will be asked to attend.  If it's relating to a vulnerable adult, they will be kept informed and involved in the process, and their family may be too if necessary.  The meeting may make recommendations to investigate the issues and to support and protect the person in order to resolve the situation.

Spotting signs of abuse in children

The council is supporting a Department for Education nationwide campaign to encourage members of the public to report child abuse to get help to children more quickly, and to make it normal practice to report it.  To spot the signs of child abuse or neglect, look for changes in:

  • Appearance – such as frequent unexplained injuries, consistently poor hygiene, matted hair, unexplained gifts, or parents regularly collecting children from school when drunk
  • Behaviour - such as demanding or aggressive behaviour, frequent lateness or absence from school, avoiding their own family, misusing drugs or alcohol, or being constantly tired
  • Communication – such as sexual or aggressive language, self-harming, becoming secretive and reluctant to share information or being overly obedient

If you're in any way worried about the welfare of a child or young person please contact us.  Together, we can tackle child abuse. 

More information:   Report child abuse (gov.uk)   |   Report child abuse (NSPCC)   |   Worried about a child? (Action for Children)   |   Child sexual abuse (NHS)

Spotting signs of abuse in adults

Signs can include changes in:

  • Behaviour - becoming quiet or withdrawn, aggressive or angry, depressed or tearful.  Or they may become unusually light-hearted and insist there's nothing wrong.  They might not want to be left on their own, or alone with particular people.   
  • Appearance - looking unkempt, dirty or thinner than usual 
  • Physical - bruises, wounds, fractures or other injuries, particularly if they're untreated or the same injuries are happening more than once 
  • Home - it may lack heat, be unusually dirty or untidy, or you might notice things missing.  
  • Finances - not having as much money as usual to pay for shopping or regular outings, getting into debt, receiving official or financial documents that seem unusual, documents relating to their finances that suddenly go missing

More information:   Abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults (NHS)   |   Reporting abuse of an older person (gov.uk)   |   Elder abuse (Age UK)