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Adult abuse

Safeguarding and protecting adults from abuse is about making sure that adults who need extra care and support:

  • keep their independence
  • maintain their wellbeing
  • make their own choices
  • live a life that is free from fear, violence or harm.

This means that any adult who is experiencing or is at risk of abuse or neglect should be able to get help from organisations such as Newcastle City Council or the Northumbria Police and local organisations.

What is abuse?

Abuse can be:

  • Physical – hurting you, for example being hit, slapped, kicked, burnt, held down or pushed around.
  • Sexual – someone touching or doing things to you which you don’t like. For example, making you touch or kiss someone when you do not want to. Or sexual exploitation, where you receive gifts or money for performing sexual acts which you did not consent to.
  • Psychological – saying things to upset you, like someone calling you names, threatening you or hurting your feelings.
  • Financial – someone taking your money or private things without asking. For example, someone might spend your money in a way that you do not want.
  • Neglect – someone caring for you doesn’t take care of you properly. For example they may not help you to get food, keep warm and safe or take you to the doctors for help.
  • Discriminatory – someone treats you badly because of your gender, sexuality, ability, age, religion or the colour of your skin.
  • Organisational – an organisation doesn’t look after you properly, for example a care home, hospital, day centre or a home care provider.
  • Domestic – This can be a combination of different types of abuse and is carried out by a family member or partner.
  • Self neglect – if you are unable to look after yourself you may become unwell, or your wellbeing or safety is affected.
  • Modern slavery – where someone forces you to work for no money. Modern slaves might be ‘owned’ or controlled by an ’employer’ or moved from different areas or abroad.

An abuser may be:

  • a partner, relative, friend or child
  • a paid carer or volunteer
  • a health or social care worker, or other professional
  • another adult with care and support needs
  • a stranger
  • more than one person

Abuse can take place anywhere, including in:

  • your own home
  • your family or friend’s homes
  • a public place
  • a care setting, such as in a care home or a hospital.

Help available

If you are told about or witness an incident of adult abuse, are the victim of adult abuse or think abuse may be happening:

To report abuse please:

Community Health & Social Care Direct are the main point of contact in Newcastle when someone has a concern about the abuse or neglect of an adult. They are available to take calls Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm.

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents that are: controlling, coercive, threatening, violent.  It is called domestic abuse because it affects those in a relationship, the whole family or all those living together in a home.  It affects those who witness the abuse and the wider family and friends who are aware of the abuse.

Newcastle Integrated Domestic Abuse Service has a refuge for women and their children who are moving from abusive relationships. It’s open 24 hours a day. They can support men who need alternative housing to leave abusive relationships. You can be referred to this service or contact them directly. They also offer:

  • an outreach service where they support people at risk of abuse
  • independent advice about domestic and sexual violence for victims at high risk of harm
  • support with housing and legal issues, access to benefits, training, employment and finding schools and childcare

Newcastle Women’s Aid offer 1 to 1 or group support to help recover after experiencing domestic abuse.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse includes:

  • having money or other property stolen
  • being defrauded or scammed
  • having money, property, possessions or benefits misused

It can include: scams, benefit fraud, theft, coercion in relation to wills or property, loan sharks, bogus/doorstep callers, cuckooing/home invasion.

The Newcastle Safeguarding Adults Board have guidance on financial abuse which gives more information on what financial abuse is and how to spot it, things that can be done to prevent it and how to respond to it when it has happened. There are a range of services and support available to people who are experiencing, or at risk of, financial abuse.  Organisations include Action Fraud and Citizen’s Advice Newcastle.

Elder Abuse

We are Hourglass provides information and support to older people affected by abuse. They have a confidential helpline.

Emotional support

Newcastle Talking Therapies help people with problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, anger, fears, bereavement and relationship difficulties.

Victims First provide help to victims of crime, witnesses, their family, friends and anyone else affected.

Support for professionals

Safeguarding Adults Unit provide advice and support to organisations about policies, procedures and best practice.  The Safeguarding Adults Unit run a professionals advice line about safeguarding adults which runs Monday to Friday.

Safeguarding Adults Board website

IKWRO provides advice and support to Middle Eastern and Afghan women and girls living in the UK who are facing Forced Marriage, Child Marriage, “Honour” Based Violence, Female Genital Mutilation and Domestic Violence. They offer advice in Farsi, Dari, Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish, Pashto and English and run a free counselling service in Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic and English.

What happens when abuse is reported?

All concerns are taken seriously. In response to the alert trained staff will carry out a careful and sensitive enquiry.  They will work with the adult at risk and relevant organisations to provide information and advice.  This will help us work with you to make an informed choice about how best to care for the adult at risk. There may be a need for forth investigation in order to protect the adult, or others, from abuse.

Other Useful Information

Patient Information Centre has a range of easy to read self help guides, including one on abuse.

Respond supports people with a learning disability or autism who may experience personal or institutional abuse.

Read the sexual health and sex in later life information about consent.

The Revenge Porn Helpline supports adult victims of intimate image abuse who live in the UK. They provide advice, guidance and support with helping to remove intimate content which has been non-consensually shared online. is a free tool designed to support victims of Non-Consensual Intimate Image (NCII) abuse.

Stop Abuse Together – It’s important to know how to spot the potential signs of child sexual abuse and where to go for support. This government website brings together advice and resources to help you keep the children in your life safe.

Modern slavery & exploitation helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7 UK national Helpline with advice and help for everyone. This helpline is provided by the anti-slavery charity Unseen.


The Silent Solution police system

If you’re in an emergency situation and need police help, but can’t speak, Make Yourself Heard to let the 999 operator know your call is genuine. All 999 calls are directed to call centres where you are asked which service you need. If no service is requested but something suspicious is heard during your call, BT operators will connect you to a police call handler if you can communicate with them using the steps described below:

How to Make Yourself Heard if unable to speak or making a noise would put you or someone else in danger:

  1. Listen to the call handlers questions
  2. Cough or tap the handset if possible
  3. Press 55 if prompted, to let them know your call is genuine. You can then be put through to the police
  4. If calling from a landline the silent solution can’t be used. They will try to ask you questions and get a response from you. If they can’t decide if your call is genuine, the call may be ended. However the call may stay connected for 45 seconds. Pick up the handset again to let the police know your call is genuine. If the call handler is worried about your safety you’ll be connected to your local police. Calling from a landline gives the call handler more information about your location.

Last updated: May 18, 2022

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