Safeguarding adults

What to do if you are concerned that you or a vulnerable adult you know may be being abused, neglected or exploited.

If you or a vulnerable adult you know is experiencing, or at is risk, of abuse, neglect or exploitation and you or they are unable to or have difficulty protecting themselves, please report this to us at Adult Social Care or to the police.

It is important to remember that you must not ignore abuse or neglect. You must report it. If you are not sure what to do you can always seek advice.

To report a crime, telephone the police

In an emergency call 999

If the person is not in immediate danger call 101

To report a safeguarding concern

Contact the Adult Social Care team

Telephone: 0300 373 3301

Out of Hours telephone: 01228 526690

Other concerns

If you have concerns about a child in Westmorland and Furness, telephone 0333 2401727.

What is abuse?

There are currently 10 different forms of abuse identified in law for vulnerable adults, these include:

  • physical abuse
  • domestic violence or abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • psychological or emotional abuse
  • financial or material abuse
  • modern slavery
  • discriminatory abuse
  • organisational or institutional abuse
  • neglect or acts of omission
  • self-neglect

Abuse can be:

  • a single incident of abuse
  • a series of actions of abuse
  • deliberately causing harm
  • unknowingly causing harm

Failure to protect people from abuse

Abuse or neglect can happen anywhere and can be carried out by anyone including a close family member or friend. Sometimes people may not even be aware that they are being abused. 

Warning signs of abuse can include:

  • changes in the person's behaviour
  • unexplained injury
  • signs of fear or distress
  • presenting as unclean
  • theft, fraud or unexplained financial worries

Signs of abuse can often be difficult to detect. Further information on possible indicators for the different forms of abuse and neglect can be found on the Social Care Institute for Excellence website.

More information

You can find out more about our approach to adult safeguarding on the Cumbria Safeguarding Adults Board website.