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Protecting adults at risk

Some adults with care and support needs are not always able to protect themselves and tend to be more likely to become a victim of crime but are often less likely to report it for various reasons. Therefore we want members of the public to help protect them by reporting their concerns to us.

We provide advice and support to help vulnerable adults get the proper care they need.

Our dedicated police officers are also specially trained in investigating crimes against vulnerable adults.

Remember, abuse and neglect can happen anywhere including at home, in a public place, whilst in hospital or attending day centres, in education or care homes.

How to report
  • If you or someone you know is suffering any type of abuse, then please call the City of London Police on 101 to report your suspicion.    

  • If you cannot phone you can use our on-line reporting service to report a non-emergency crime .    

  • If you wish to remain anonymous, you can report via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or submit information via their Anonymous Online Form .    

  • For any emergency you should always call 999.

Who is vulnerable?

The Care Act 2014: Department of Health definition of a 'vulnerable adult’:

"A person aged 18 years or over who is or may be at risk of abuse by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation."

What is Abuse?

Abuse is any action by another person that causes significant harm to an individual. It can take many different forms.

Abuse can also be about a lack of care and attention. Neglect, whatever form it takes, can be just as damaging to a person as physical abuse.

Below are some of the many different forms abuse can take:

  • Physical - including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, restraining or inappropriate sanctions.
  • Sexual - including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult at risk has not consented, could not consent or was pressured into consenting to.
  • Psychological - including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of human contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.
  • Financial or material - including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transactions, the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
  • Neglect or acts of omission - including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health care, social care, education services or misuse of medication, adequate nutrition or heating.
  • Discrimination - including racist, sexist behaviour and harassment based on a person's ethnicity, race, culture, sexual orientation, age or disability, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.
  • Institutional - This can sometimes happen in residential homes, nursing homes or hospitals and is when people are mistreated because of poor or inadequate care, neglect, and poor practice that affects the whole of that service.
  • Modern slavery - Encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude
  • Self neglect - This covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for a person’s own personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.
What are the signs to look out for?

Although there may not always be visible signs that a vulnerable adult is being abused, a display of the following may be a sign of abuse:

  • Multiple bruising or finger marks.
  • Injuries the person cannot give a good reason for.
  • Deterioration of health for no apparent reason.
  • Loss of weight.
  • Inappropriate or inadequate clothing.
  • Withdrawal or mood changes.
  • A carer who is unwilling to allow access to the person.
  • An individual who is unwilling to be alone with a particular carer.
  • Unexplained shortage of money.

If you have noticed any of these signs, it doesn't mean that an adult is definitely at risk.

However, please let us know about anything you've noticed that you're worried or uncertain about. We can give you advice and support and help you keep the person safe. Conact details are below.

Who might be abusing an adult?

Any of these forms of abuse can be either deliberate, the result of negligence or due to a lack of training, knowledge or understanding.

While it is certainly true that anybody could be abusing an at-risk adult, it is most commonly carried out by those known to the victim, including, but not limited to:

  • relatives
  • paid care workers
  • volunteers
  • other service users
  • neighbours
  • friends and associates
What should I do if I am concerned about someone I know?

Contact City of London Adult Social Care:

  • Call 020 7332 1224 - 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday.    
  • Call 0208 356 2300 - for all other times, including weekends and Bank Holidays
  • Email:

You should call City of London Police on 101 to report your suspicion or if you cannot phone you can use our on-line reporting service to report a non-emergency crime (link).

If you wish to remain anonymous you can report via crime stoppers on 0800 555 111 or submit information via their Anonymous Online Form. For any emergency you should always call 999.

Mental Health

If it is your own mental health you are concerned about initially you should contact your GP who should be able to assess the problem and decide the best way to approach it. If your doctor is not able to help they will suggest someone who can.

If you are concerned about someone who is experiencing a mental health issue that places them at immediate risk of causing harm to themselves or others you should call 999 or NHS direct free on 111 or take them to the nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department if this is possible and does not place you at risk of harm.

If someone has attempted suicide, you should call 999 and stay with them until the ambulance arrives. For non-emergency situations there are a range of other options that you should take such as:

  • Contacting their GP for an emergency appointment or the out of hours service.

  • Calling their Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), if they have one.