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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.

Help available link

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.

Elder Abuse

Action on Elder Abuse provides information and support to those affected by abuse. They have a free 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.

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 willl 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.

Last updated: April 16, 2020

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