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Safeguarding adults

Stop adult abuse - it’s your responsibility

If you think you or another person is at risk of harm or abuse please contact Kent County Council on 0300 333 5540 or visit the Kent County Council website.


Who is a vulnerable adult?

An adult (a person aged 18 or over) who "is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age, or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care or him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation" (definition from Department of Health 'No secrets' (2000) guidance document).

This means that if you or someone you know is restricted by ill health, age or disability and are dependent on someone else to assist with your care needs, you are a vulnerable adult. It may be a temporary or long-term illness or disability that causes your vulnerability. Please use the links on this page where you can obtain more detailed information.

If anyone abuses you or you are concerned that someone you know is being abused, we can help. In partnership with other statutory agencies and specialist police officers (if a crime is or has been committed), we will work with you to stop the abuse and help you to feel safe.


What is abuse and what constitutes abuse?

"Abuse is a violation of an individual's human and civil rights by any other person or persons" (definition from the Multi-agency Safeguarding Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy, Protocol and Guidance for Kent and Medway (2010).

Abuse may also be an act of neglect or an omission to act as a result of a failure to undertake action or appropriate care tasks.

What constitutes abuse?

  • Physical - if someone hurts or injures you or treats you roughly.
  • Sexual - if someone touches you intimately in a way that you do not want or makes sexual comments or suggestions that make you feel uncomfortable.
  • Psychological - someone may be bullying you into doing something that you do not want or threatening you.
  • Financial - someone could be taking your money/savings/possessions or persuading you to sign over property against your wishes.
  • Neglect - you may have care needs or require specific attention that is not being met, someone may be withholding your medication or giving you too much.
  • Discriminatory - someone could be insulting you or withholding care because of your colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability.
  • Institutional - not a type of abuse but all of the above can happen in institutions or organisations. Sometimes your human rights can be taken away because certain practices have become part of the culture within these places.

This list is not exhaustive and there are many other examples.



Domestic abuse

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can get support and advice by contacting one of the agencies below:

  • Kent and Medway Police - 101 for all non-emergency enquiries or 999 for an emergency
  • 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline - 0808 200 0247
  • One Stop Shop - 07598 745044
  • Men's Advice Line - 0808 8010 327
  • Elder Abuse Helpline - 08088 088141
  • Karma Nirvana - Honour Network Helpline - 08005 999247
  • Domestic abuse support services in Kent and Medway - visit website