Adult Abuse or Neglect

Who is an Adult at risk of abuse or neglect?

An adult at risk is someone over 18 years old who:
  • has care and support needs
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • as a result of their care and support needs is unable to protect him/herself against actual (or risk of) abuse or neglect
People who do not currently receive care/support from a health or care service (but have care/support needs), may still be considered at risk.

Recognising abuse or neglect

There are many different types of abuse or neglect such as:

Physical abuse
Including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.

Domestic violence
Including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour' based violence.

Sexual abuse
Including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.

Psychological abuse
Including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.

Financial or material abuse
Including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult's financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Modern slavery
Encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

Discriminatory abuse
Including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment; because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

Organisational abuse
Including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one's own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.

Neglect and acts of omission
Including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

This covers a wide range of behaviour including neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.
People who neglect themselves can often be at risk of other forms of abuse and exploitation.

If you see, hear or suspect that an adult may be at risk of abuse or neglect, you must tell someone about it. If there is an immediate danger contact the Police on 999.
Alternately, you can contact the London Borough of Bexley on 0208 303 7777 or email
The Contact Centre based at the Bexley Civic Offices is open to take calls between 8.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday. Outside these hours and on Sundays and Bank Holidays, in emergency only, please contact our Out of Hours Duty Service on 0208 303 7777.

What will happen when I report a safeguarding adults concern?

You will be asked to provide as much information as possible. We will then decide, usually within 2 working days, on whether a reported concern requires a safeguarding adult's enquiry. There are limitations on what personal information can be shared with other people but wherever possible you will be informed of the outcome of reporting your concern as soon as possible. Taking action to protect people at risk will be given the first priority.

Domestic violence and finding a safe home

If you are being abused, threatened, or physically or sexually assaulted by a partner, former partner, or a family member, then you are the victim of domestic violence.

Domestic violence can involve a wide range of abusive and controlling behaviour including:

  • Physical - hitting, biting, punching, breaking bones, choking
  • Psychological - constant criticism, bullying, insults, being kept locked up, humiliation, threats to harm or kill, stalking
  • Sexual - forcing sex in ways that hurt or abuse or in front of others, enforced prostitution
  • Financial - keeping someone without money or threatening to withhold money

Who can you talk to?

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing domestic violence there are a range of services that can offer help and support. Click on the link below to find out more.

In an emergency you should always ring the Police on 999.

National Domestic Violence Helpline
The Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. The Helpline can give support, help and information over the telephone.
Helpline - 0808 2000 247

Bexley Women's Aid
Bexley Women's Aid  is a local charity with over 30 years' experience of helping women and children who experience domestic abuse.  Their mission is to enable and empower women and children experiencing domestic abuse to obtain and sustain a safe living environment.

Helpline 020 8301 1536 (available 9.30am - 4.30pm Monday - Friday).

Bexley Police
The police in Bexley have a specialist Community Safety Unit for domestic violence, race, hate and homophobic crime.
Bexleyheath Police Station
2 Arnsberg Way
Telephone number: 101
In an emergency you should always ring the police on 999.

Crisis Intervention Team
The Independent Domestic Violence Advisers provide an immediate response to domestic violence crisis situations.  The adviser will carry out a risk assessment and work with partner agencies including the Police, Social Services and Women's Aid to provide help and support to the victims of domestic violence.

Free Legal Advice
The Crisis Intervention Team at the London Borough of Bexley works in partnership with T G Baynes solicitors to offer free legal advice to those experiencing difficulties within the family. Advice includes:
  • Child contact/access
  • Divorce and separation
  • Injunctions/non-molestation orders/non-occupation orders
If you would like to speak to someone in confidence please contact the Crisis Intervention team to arrange an appointment.

The Freedom Programme
This is a free 12-week rolling programme for any woman living in Bexley who has experienced, or is experiencing domestic abuse.

The Freedom Programme aims to:
  • Help women understand the beliefs held by abusive men and in so doing recognising which of these beliefs they have shared
  • Illustrate the effects of domestic violence on children
  • Assist women to recognise potential future abusers
  • Help women gain self-esteem and the confidence to improve the quality of their lives
  • Introduce women to community resources
Contact the Crisis Intervention Team for further information.

Men's Advice Line
The Men's Advice Line is a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic violence and abuse. The advice line can offer emotional support, practical advice and information on a wide range of services that can offer further help and support.  The focus is to increase the safety of men experiencing domestic violence (and the safety of their children) and reduce the risk.
Men's Advice Line -0808 801 0327

Mankind  is a national organisation that offers support and advice to men that are the victims of domestic violence.
Mankind - 01823 334244

Broken Rainbow UK
Broken Rainbow UK  is an organisation dedicated to confronting and eliminating domestic violence within and against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
Help line - 0300 999 5428 (Monday and Thursday 2pm - 8pm and Tuesday and Wednesday 10am - 5pm).

Rights of Women
Rights of Women  is a women's voluntary organisation committed to informing, educating and empowering women concerning their legal rights. They offer free confidential legal advice to women on their advice line.  They offer specialist advice in family law, divorce and relationship breakdown, children and contact issues, domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, discrimination and lesbian parenting.  They empower women to access their legal rights.

Family law advice line - Call 020 7251 6577 or 020 7490 2562 (textphone) on Tuesdays 7pm - 9pm, Wednesday 7pm - 9pm, Thursday 7pm - 9pm and Fridays 12noon - 2pm.

Criminal law advice line - Call 0*20 7251 8887* (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone) on Tuesday 11am - 1pm.

Immigration and asylum law advice line - Call 020 7490 7689 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone) and leave a message with your name and a contact telephone number.  You will receive a call back from a member of our staff who will advise you when a lawyer will call you.  All call backs will not leave an answer phone message and our telephone number will be withheld.

Ascent advice line for women and advisors in London - For advice on family law issues - Call 020 7608 1137 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone) on Mondays 11am - 1pm, Tuesdays 2pm - 4pm and Wednesdays 2pm - 4pm.
Ascent advice line for women and advisors in London - For advice on criminal law issues - Call 020 7608 1137 (telephone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone) on Thursdays 2pm - 4pm.

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS)

The MCA DOLS were introduced to prevent deprivations of liberty without proper safeguards including independent consideration and authorisation. Deprivations of liberty in hospitals or care homes, other than under the Mental Health Act, should now follow the MCA DOLS process and all affected patients and residents should benefit from the new safeguards.



Managing someone else's affairs

Mental capacity is your ability to make decisions about your life. Your capacity to make decisions could be affected by an injury, a serious illness or a disability. If you (or a relative or someone you care for) has an illness, injury or disability which causes (or may cause) issues with mental capacity, it is wise to plan ahead head for important decisions to be made in the future.

Click the link below to find out more about mental capacity and what can be done to assist in managing your, or someone else's, affairs.

Managing your own, or someone else's affairs

The Mental Capacity Act affects anyone aged 16 or over who does not have the capacity to make some or all decisions for themselves.  It defines mental capacity, or ‘capacity' as the ability to make a particular decision at a particular time.  A person's capacity can vary from day to day, and from issue to issue.  Someone could have capacity to make some, but not all, of the decisions they need to make.

The government has more useful information about the Mental Capacity Act and who can make decisions for you if you can't.

The following sites contain useful information and various tools to help understand the Mental Care Act, including the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.

Government Website

Mental Capacity at a Glance

Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards at a Glance

Court of Protection Forms and Guidance

Financial Management

Scams and Financial Abuse

Every year people lose billions of pounds to scammers and con artists using postal, telephone and online scams. Vulnerable adults can also be the victims of financial abuse where money is taken by relatives, friends or carers without their knowledge or permission. Some people may be especially vulnerable, and may be targeted if they:
  • are elderly
  • live alone with no family nearby
  • have dementia or mental health problems
  • have a learning disability
There are signs which may indicate that someone is being scammed or abused. If you have concerns about your own, or someone else's, financial affairs or want to find out more, go here for more information

Scams and Financial Abuse

  • an increase in volume of post – once someone replies to one postal scam they will     usually start receiving lots more; some people have received 30-100 letters every day
  • changes in spending – someone replying to scams or being financially abused may drastically change their spending habits; withdrawing large sums of money or writing lots of cheques
  • having lots of new items they don't need – some scams require the victim to buy lots of products, such as vitamins or jewellery, to qualify for a promised cash prize.

You may find the Little Book of Scams produced by the Police to help people avoid being scammed:

If you concerned that you, a family member or someone you care for is being scammed or abused there is help available.
Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) – the CAB website has lots of useful information

Advice line on 03454 040506.

Police – if you believe someone is financially abusing you, or a friend or relative, contact the Police by calling 101.  You can also contact Action Fraud by visiting or calling 0300 123 2040 to report fraud and internet financial crime.

London Borough of Bexley  Council – call 0208 3037777 and we can advise you, or put you in touch with our Safeguarding Adults Team who can arrange for enquiries to be made about financial abuse concerns for adults at risk.

Bexley Trading Standards – get detailed information about the types of scams and frauds you may encounter, how to recognise them and what to do about them. Visit

Age UK – Age UK has useful information about protecting yourself from financial abuse and keeping your money safe at