Who might be affected by abuse?

Abuse can happen anywhere and be carried out by anyone.  This might be family, friends, neighbours, paid staff, volunteers, carers, other service users or even complete strangers.

These adults may be, for example:

  • Frail due to age, ill health, physical disability, cognitive impairment or a combination of these
  • Have a learning disability
  • Have mental health needs including dementia or a personality disorder
  • Have a long-term illness/condition
  • Users of substances or alcohol
  • Unable to demonstrate the capacity to make a decision and is in need of care and support.

This list is not exhaustive.

The new Care Act 2015 updates the scope of adult safeguarding and the circumstances under which a local authority must intervene – as follows:

Where a local authority has reasonable cause to suspect that an adult in its area (whether or not ordinarily resident there) –

  1. has needs for care and support (whether or not the authority is meeting any of those needs)
  2. is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect, and
  3. as a result of those needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.

In effect, this means that regardless of whether the local authority are providing any services, we must follow up any concerns about either actual or suspected adult abuse.