Information for the public

Immediate Action

If you have noticed any form of abuse:

  • Ensure immediate safety of the adult at risk 
  • If necessary, call emergency services on 999 
  • If a crime has occurred, call the Police on 101
  • Preserve any evidence 
  • Accurately record the information ensuring you date, time and sign it

If you or someone you know have been abused, contact

The Police

  • For emergencies 999 
  • For non–emergencies and advice 101 
  • Open all day and all night.

Bradford Council

If you think an adult is at risk of abuse or you are worried that someone might be abused raise your concern at:

If you are unable to complete the online form call the Adult Protection Unit on 01274 431077

Monday to Thursday: 8.30am to 4.30pm
Friday: 8.30am to 4pm

Out of Hours Emergency Duty Team

Telephone 01274 431010 (outside office hours)

Monday to Thursday: 5pm to 7.30am
Friday to Monday: 4.30pm to 7.30am

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is about protecting people from abuse, preventing abuse from happening and making people aware of their rights.

Who does it cover?

Adult abuse can happen to anyone aged over 18.

Some adults find it harder to get help and may be more at risk of harm, such as those with:

  • a disability 
  • a mental health condition 
  • a temporary or long term illness or frail older people.

Informal carers such as partners, relatives or friends can also get help if they are being abused.

Help is available.

Types of abuse

Abuse can take many forms, there is no definitive list of what incidents amount to abuse, however the following would be considered abuse:

Physical abuse

Examples of physical abuse include: hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, illegal restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.

Sexual abuse

Examples of sexual abuse include - rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult at risk has not consented, or could not consent or was pressured into consenting. Sexual acts would include being made to watch sexual activity.

Psychological abuse

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

Financial and material abuse

Financial and material abuse is a crime. It is the use of a person’s property, assets, income, funds or any resources without their informed consent or authorisation. It includes: theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adults financial affairs or arrangements, such as wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, exploitation or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits and the misuse of an enduring power of attorney or a lasting power of attorney, or appointeeship.

Modern slavery

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

Discriminatory abuse

Examples of discriminatory abuse include - abuse based on a person’s race, gender, gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion; or other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment or hate crime/hate incident.

Neglect and acts of omission

Examples of neglect and acts of omission include - ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

Organisational abuse

Whenever any form of abuse is caused by an organisation, it may be organisational abuse. Organisational abuse includes neglect and poor practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, 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, processes and practices within an organisation.


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

Domestic violence

Examples of domestic violence include psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; as well as so called ‘honour’ based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation.

Is abuse a crime?

Yes, many kinds of abuse are crimes – for example physical or sexual assault, theft, wilful neglect and harassment.

Hate crime is also abuse. It is when a person is targeted for abuse because of their race, religion, nationality, sexuality, age, gender or disability.

Crimes should be reported first of all to the police. If you are worried about doing this or if you are not sure if it is a crime contact one of the other organisations that can help.

Why does abuse happen?

Abuse in some cases is clearly deliberate and intentionally unkind. However in some cases abuse happens because:

  • somebody does not know how to act correctly 
  • they lack training, knowledge and understanding, or 
  • they haven’t got appropriate help and support.

Abuse is against everyone’s human and civil rights.

  • We all have the right to live a life free from violence and abuse 
  • We should not be treated in an inhumane or degrading way 
  • We are not to blame if this is happening to us.

Who can abuse?

Anyone can abuse or mistreat you, including those closest to you, for example:

  • a partner, relative or family member 
  • a friend 
  • an organisation, a paid carer or volunteer 
  • another service user 
  • a neighbour or 
  • a stranger.

Where does abuse happen?

Abuse can happen in various places, for example:

  • in a person’s own home 
  • in the street 
  • in a care home 
  • in a day centre or hospital.

What do you do if you are the person being abused?

If you are being harmed or mistreated in any way don’t suffer in silence, SPEAK OUT!

Tell someone you can trust AND who can help, here are some examples:

  • a family member 
  • a friend 
  • a police officer 
  • a social worker 
  • a tutor 
  • a doctor 
  • a community nurse or 
  • other health professionals.

If you are in immediate danger, contact the police or an ambulance on 999. If a crime has already been committed, or for advice, contact the police on 101 or textphone 18001 101.

It doesn’t matter if abuse has only happened once or many times – it’s wrong and should be stopped.

Help is available – you will be listened to and supported.

There are organisations that can help.

If you feel unable to call yourself, tell someone you trust to do it for you.

What should you do if you think someone else is being abused?

Abuse can be hard to spot; some of the signs are very subtle. Some of the things that you can look out for are:

  • a change in behaviour where someone is more withdrawn than usual, nervous, frightened or upset 
  • a change in appearance or poor physical condition – someone looks unkempt or neglected 
  • injuries, bruises or marks that are unexplained 
  • someone has little money to buy food, clothing or pay bills when they should have enough.

If you suspect someone is being abused you should:

  • contact the police or an ambulance: dial 999 if the person is in immediate danger 
  • contact the police on 101 or textphone 18001 101 if a crime has already been committed, or for advice 
  • contact one of the organisations that can help.

What happens when abuse has been reported?

What you say will be taken seriously.

If you are the person being abused:

  • a member of staff will speak to you 
  • they will explain what help is available to protect you 
  • you might choose to meet with staff from other organisations and select the help you want 
  • you might ask someone else to do this on your behalf 
  • you will be given extra help if you find it hard to make your own decisions 
  • if you or other people are at risk of serious harm it may be necessary to take action. If this is the case it will be explained to you 
  • any information you give about your circumstances will be handled carefully. Some of this may need to be shared with other organisations. This will be done in line with the law and government guidelines to protect you.

If you have reported the abuse of someone else:

  • this person will be contacted 
  • their concerns will be discussed and they will be offered help as described above.

Advocacy Services in the Bradford District

Someone from Advocacy Services will listen to you and help you to:

  • say what you want 
  • make sure your rights are met and 
  • get the services you need.

There are many Advocacy Services that can help, some are listed below.

If you are not sure which one to contact, don’t worry. They will all help you to find the right service for you. Most organisations are happy to ring you back; if you need this service please let them know.

Bradford and Airedale Mental Health Advocacy Group (BAMHAG)

for queries and referrals regarding someone with mental ill health, including dementia or any other degenerative illness

Telephone: 01274 770118

Choice Advocacy

for queries and referrals regarding someone with learning disabilities

Telephone: 01274 391691

Bradford and Airedale Citizens Advice Bureau

offers advocacy on any community issues

Telephone: 0844 245 1282