Safeguarding Adults

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust takes allegations of abuse against adults at risk seriously and is committed to preventing harm.  We work closely with our partner agencies e.g. Social Services, the Police, Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust, NHS Hertfordshire and the voluntary sector to protect vulnerable adults.

What should you do if you are worried about an adult at risk and how do you raise a concern?

If someone is at risk of immediate harm, or requires medical treatment you must dial 999 for the Police and/or ambulance service. For non-emergency situations the Police can be contacted on 101.

For all other concerns telephone Health & Community Services (Social Services) on 0300 123 4042.

If you need support to raise a concern, organisations in the community can support you.

Who is an Adult at Risk? 

Anyone aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of or protect themselves because they have a physical or sensory disability, learning difficulties, mental health needs or frail older people.

What do we mean by harm?

Abuse is a violation of a person's right or dignity by someone else. There are many kinds of abuse; some are listed below:

Physical - including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions.

Sexual - including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented, or was pressured into consenting.

Psychological - including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.

Financial or material - including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult's financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Neglect and acts of omission - including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate healthcare and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

Discriminatory - including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

Organisational - including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as hospital or care home, or in relation to care provided in one's own home. This may range from one-off incidents to on-going ill treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies and processes within an organisation. 

Domestic Violence - including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse, and so called 'honour' based abuse.

Modern Slavery - encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

Self-neglect - this covers a wide range of behaviour, neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

Who may cause harm?

Anyone might! For example, relatives and family members, professional staff, paid care workers, volunteers.

What happens after your contact?

The Adult Social Care team will find out as much as possible about what has happened. An investigation may be carried out and a protection plan may be put in place. Arrangements will also be made to safeguard the vulnerable adult from any future abuse.

Who else could I contact? 

Care Quality Commission (CQC) - if the person concerned lives in or is cared for by an agency or organisation which is registered with the CQC. The CQC may also request that Social Services investigate.

Telephone: 03000 616161

Other useful websites:

Elder abuse - 


CQC - Safeguarding adults from abuse - an inter-agency procedure