Bristol Safeguarding Adults Board

If you’re being abused or think someone else is being abused, you must tell someone.

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

Contact Bristol City Council Care Direct:
● Telephone 0117 922 2700 (8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday, answerphone outside office hours)
● Or use the online form at

Or call 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.

Contact details

Service details

  • Is there a cost for these services? no
  • How can people access this service? Telephone
Updated: more than six months ago.
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