Safeguarding adults

Safeguarding adults

This page contains an overview of the terms ‘safeguarding’ and ‘adults at risk'. It also contains information on how and when to report a case and how to do it.

Information on safeguarding adults for the general public

Here you will find information about safeguarding adults at risk, how and when to report a case of abuse and how to do it.

Safeguarding Adults contact number

  • To contact safeguarding adults services and the safeguarding adults board, please click here.
  • For further information for professionals, click here.

Am I an adult at risk of abuse or neglect?
Everyone has the right to live a life free from abuse. If you think that you or someone that you know has been the victim of abuse then please tell someone.
Abuse is when someone does or says things to you that make you upset or frightened.
  • Physical abuse includes being hit or slapped, being given the wrong medication on purpose, being locked in, tied up or force-fed.
  • Sexual abuse is being touched or kissed when you don't want it, being made to touch or kiss someone else, being shown sexual pictures or asked to make sexual pictures of yourself, being raped or being made to listen to sexual comments.
  • Sexual exploitation is when someone takes advantage of you sexually, using threats, bribes or violence to control you, and to get you to do sexual things for them or other people.
  • Emotional abuse means  being threatened, not being given choices, being bullied, being deliberately left alone for a long time or being tormented.
  • Financial abuse means having money or personal property stolen, being tricked out of benefits, someone borrowing money and not paying it back, or being bullied into letting people use credit cards or cheques.
  • Neglect means not being given enough to eat or drink, being left in dirty or wet clothes, being given the wrong medication or not being given your medication, someone not calling a doctor or nurse when help is needed or not being able to look after yourself.

Abuse can also include slavery, domestic abuse, organisational abuse and  discrimination.

You can report abuse and neglect by completing the form below, or you can contact us on 01670 536400 during office hours, or 0345 6005252 out of hours

If you are worried that someone is in immediate danger, you should call 999 for emergency services.
 
Concerned about an adult

 
How do I know if I am abused or neglected or if somebody else is?
Abuse and neglect can happen anywhere: in a person’s own home, in care homes and living schemes, in hospitals, in colleges and even in public places. Abuse can be carried out by anyone.
What is abuse?
  • The misuse of power by one person over another.
  • It can be a single or repeated acts.
  • It might be physical, verbal, institutional or discriminatory, psychological, sexual or financial.
  • It might happen when an adult at risk is persuaded to take part in a financial agreement or sexual act they do not or cannot consent to.
  • It might be that an adult at risk is given too much medication, so they find things difficult to do, or they are restrained in a chair or locked in a room to make things easier for the people who are supposed to be caring for them. 
What is neglect?
  • It can prevent someone who is dependent on others for their basic needs from exercising choice and control over their lives.
  • It can cause physical and emotional harm.
  • It undermines a person’s dignity.
  • It can be deliberate or unintentional. 
How & when can I report a case of adult abuse or neglect?
You might report a case if:
  • You are an adult at risk and you think you have been a victim of abuse or neglect.
  • You see, hear or know about something that concerns you and suspect an adult at risk is being harmed or abused. You must report what you know.
The worst thing you can do is nothing.

For immediate danger, you should call 999 for emergency medical assistance and/or the police. The person identifying the concern should not put themselves at risk and every care should be taken to preserve evidence. If you are a member of the public, to report abuse you can call adult services on (01670) 536 400. This is the contact point for safeguarding alerts. We will listen carefully and take very seriously what you say, even if you wish to remain anonymous. We will tell you what will happen next and if appropriate give advice about how you can help keep the adult safe.

Please see our guide to safeguarding adults or access our DVD on the following YouTube links. If you are an employee, student on placement or volunteer, immediately report your concerns to your line manager who will call adult services on 01670 536400 to make an alert the same day. 

If you think your manager is implicated, or fails to act on your concerns, you should ring adult services on 01670 536400.

If you know or suspect another worker, student or volunteer has harmed an adult at risk or failed to provide the proper care and support, you have a professional duty to report this and are advised to refer to your registration handbook.

You can also use your workplace whistle-blowing procedures.
If you work for a registered health or social care provider, you can report your concerns to the Care Quality Commission on 03000 616161.

To report concerns to adult social care in Northumberland at weekends and outside office hours, contact the emergency duty team on 03456 005252.
What happens after a case of adult abuse or neglect is reported?
Adult social care will pass your concerns on to a manager, so they can decide what to do. The manager will decide how to help you within one working day. Any risks to you will be considered and someone will contact you in a safe way to help you out of any dangerous situations.

If we hear about abuse in the evening or weekend, we will help you with any risk that cannot wait. This includes making sure you are safe. A manager will then work out any additional help on the next working day.

To help us decide what to do, we may need to talk to you and other people like your family, staff and sometimes the police. If a crime has been committed, the police will investigate accordingly.

If we think you, or anyone you told us about, is at immediate risk of being badly hurt, we will act very quickly to protect you.
Other useful contacts
Telephone preference service (TPS)
This is a service where you register your telephone number and it then stops unwanted marketing calls. Click here to access it.

Financial abuse Domestic abuse Psychological abuse
  • MIND, the leading mental health charity in England and Wales
  • Samaritans, offering support and advice
  • Time to change, an organisation that campaigns to end discrimination against people with mental health issues
Local links National links Support for adults at risk Alcohol Drugs
  • SORTED - Northumberland Drugs Agency advice and information
  • Re-solv - dedicated to the prevention of solvent and volatile substance abuse
  • NECA (counselling on addictions)
Personal safety

See it, Report it – experiences

This page describes experiences of people who have been affected by abuse and is part of the See it, Report it! publicity campaign.

See it, Report it - Mary’s story
I’m 91 and I’ve been living in a care home for the past year because I couldn’t manage any more at home. I had a fall and broke my hip. Some nice ladies came to help me but I was very frightened of being on my own. 

I used to ring my neighbour quite often because I didn’t want to bother my daughter but she complained and eventually I had to give up my home. The care home was alright to start with. Most of the staff seemed friendly but some of the night staff were quite nasty.

They used to ignore me and the other residents. If I asked for help they just ignored me or made me wait for a long time if I needed to go to the toilet or needed a drink or something like that. I wake up quite early and no-one would see if I wanted a cup of tea but I didn’t like to complain. 

I decided to tell my daughter I wanted to move to another care home and the whole story came out. She was very upset and she reported these problems to the manager. They had a big meeting in the care home to sort everything out. My daughter went along because I didn’t want to and I had to tell the social worker who came to see me what had been going on.

The night staff who’d been nasty left the care home and everything’s fine now and I’m happy here. The care home have apologised to us all.
See it, Report it- Peter’s story
My name’s Peter. I’m 32 years old, and I live on my own in a small flat.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was 21 and put on medication. I have a psychiatrist and my community psychiatric nurse Jack comes to see me to see how I’m doing. 

Sometimes I feel really down, really depressed, and when I’m like that I don’t get out of bed or bother to get washed, dressed, shave or go shopping. 

I had an old friend from school, Jason, and he offered to do my shopping and it was a massive help. To start with, he always gave me my change but after a while he stopped and I felt too awkward to ask about it. Then he started borrowing money and not giving it back. At first it was £10, then it was £30 or £40.

One day £50 went missing from my flat and Jason was the only person who’d been round for a couple of days, so
I asked him for it back and he got really nasty, he was shouting and screaming, and after that he was really funny with me. When he wasn’t being off with me, he was ignoring me. 

I didn’t know what else to do, so I rang the Crisis Line. They thought Jason might be taking advantage of me and they put me in touch with adult services. 

I spoke to a social worker who listened to everything I said, asked if I would like someone to investigate it and I know Jason and me go a long way back but if someone’s stealing from you then it’s just not right. 

The police and the social services were involved. There was a meeting. They asked me if I wanted to go but I didn’t, so my nurse Jack told me what had happened. 

The next time Jason took my money, the police caught him and I got my money back. And now, when I’m not well, I have a care worker who comes to help me instead.
See it, Report it - Wendy’s story
My daughter Wendy is 50 years old and has a learning disability. She moved out and went to live in a house with three other people with learning disabilities about 15 years ago, and it was wonderful for her to have her independence. 

There are some staff who come and help her with shopping, going to the bank and looking after the house but Wendy can do things on her own too. She can get the bus by herself and she comes to see me every Tuesday. 

She likes to go to the local day centre to see her friends. She makes things to sell like birthday cards and they have trips out and things like that. 

Then a little while ago she refused to go but she wouldn’t say why. She was upset and tearful. In the end, she told me there was a new man that had started going to the day centre and that he’d touched her in places she did not like. She hadn’t said anything because she was frightened she’d get into trouble.

I was furious, absolutely furious, so I rang the day centre straight away. They reported the matter through adult services and everything was looked into. 

I attended some meetings with my daughter. The police were there too. The social worker called this a “strategy". Wendy told the social worker what had been happening and everything was sorted out. The man doesn’t go to the day centre anymore. 

My daughter’s so much happier now, she’s started going back to the day centre and she’s getting back to her old self again. The social worker and I have told her what to do if anything like this happens again.

Contact safeguarding adults

Here you will find information on how to contact safeguarding adults services.

For reporting a case, general information and enquiries
During office hours

Northumberland Adult Safeguarding
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Foundry House
Bedlington
Northumberland Out of office hours
If you have an emergency affecting your social care services outside office hours, you can contact our emergency duty team. Please note this a small team covering the whole of Northumberland. They will usually be able only to take the minimum action needed to make sure that nobody is in danger. For further information to the general public, click here.
For complex safeguarding, deprivation of liberty safeguards and prevention enquiries
Northumberland Strategic Adults Team
County Hall
Morpeth
Northumberland
NE61 2EF
For training for professionals
Northumbria Healthcare Learning and Development Unit
To contact Northumberland Safeguarding Adults Board