Keeping Safe

What is abuse?


Abuse is about the misuse of the power and control that one person has over another. It’s about whether harm was caused, and the impact of the harm (or risk of harm) on the individual.

The law defines the types of abuse as:

    Physical abuse 

    Domestic violence

    Sexual abuse

    Psychological abuse

    Financial or material abuse

    Discriminatory abuse

    Modern slavery


    Organisational abuse

    Neglect and acts of omission


For more information on these please


Who can be affected?

Abuse can affect adults of any age, background or disability.

Who could the abuser be?

Vulnerable adults may be abused by a wide range of people including

  • relatives and family members
  • professional staff, paid care workers 
  • volunteers, other service users 
  • neighbours, friends and associates 
  • people who deliberately exploit
  • strangers

How can you tell someone is being abused?

Some people may not realise they are being abused. Often the person being harmed is not able to say what is happening to them. Here are some warning signs that you can look for:

  • Bruises, falls and injuries
  • Signs of neglect such as clothes being dirty
  • Poor care either at home or in a residential or nursing home or hospital
  • Changes in someone’s financial situation
  • Changes in behaviour such as loss of confidence or nervousness
  • Isolation
  • Being withdrawn

Whatever the abuse or the setting, abuse is not acceptable and a violation of a person's basic human rights. Adults have the right to receive support and live a life free from abuse and neglect. Most people find it difficult to imagine that vulnerable adults and older people are victims of abuse. It is a hidden and often ignored problem in society. We recognise the need to protect vulnerable people from abuse.

What can you do?

If you suspect or witnessed an adult being abused, please tell someone

  • You will be taken seriously
  • Please take immediate action and use the contact numbers below

Who can help? 

If you think someone is in immediate danger dial 999.

If it is not an emergency you can contact the police by dialling 101


You can contact Essex Adult Social Care Direct:


   Telephone: 0345 603 17630

   Southend: 01702 215008

   Thurrock: 01375 511000


If you look after someone and are concerned about them, or yourself, you can contact Carers FIRST:        

    Telephone: 0300 303 1555



Domestic Abuse:

Domestic Abuse Central Referral Unit is a dedicated team within the police to support all incidents of abuse by intimate partners or family members

You can contact the Domestic Abuse Central Referral Unit (CRU) by:

Calling: 101 extension 180340.

Calling the dedicated domestic abuse non-emergency number 0800 358 0351

Call in at your local police station to report domestic abuse

There is also a language line available to take details for those who do not speak English.

Financial Abuse:

Victim Support: An independent charity, that work towards a world where people affected by crime or traumatic events get the support they need and the respect they deserve.

    Free phone: 0808 168 9 111

Neglect & Hoarding

Hoarding UK: HoardingUK is the only UK-wide charity solely dedicated to supporting people affected by hoarding behaviours.  Their aim is to empower individuals experiencing hoarding behaviours to achieve spatial and personal change, to reduce isolation and improve their health and well-being.

    Free helpline, advice and advocacy call: 020 3239 1600

Contact the Elderly: Contact the Elderly organises monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people aged 75 and over who are dealing with loneliness and social isolation.

    Network of volunteers 0800 716 543

Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery: Provides victims, the public, statutory agencies and businesses access to information and support on a 24/7 basis.

    Helpline 0800 0121 700



    Give information anonymously on 0800 555 111 

Salvation Army: 
The Salvation Army provides specialist support for all adult victims of modern slavery in England and Wales through a government contract which was first awarded in 2011. They deliver a specialist support programme to protect and care for all adult victims of this heinous crime. 

    Helpline 24-hour confidential referral helpline on 0300 3038151 (7 days a week) 


Age UK

    Advice Line 0800 169 8787

Action on Elder Abuse: 
They are the only charity in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland working exclusively on this issue, and they provide knowledge, expertise and support to thousands of people every year.

    Helpline: 080 8808 8141

If the person is in a care home, day centre or has a paid carer you can complain to that provider directly.

    Contact CQC


For more information you can visit the Essex Adult Safeguarding pages for details of free online safeguarding training and lots of other useful contacts.