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Safeguarding and Caring (Adults)
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Safeguarding (adults)

Investigations into adult abuse

Abuse can happen anywhere in a setting you would not expect such as Care Homes for the elderly and people who are disabled or have a learning disability, hospitals, the workplace, day centre’s, supported housing and those people who live on the street. Anyone can be an abuser including people whose business it is to take care of vulnerable people.

Who is a vulnerable adult?

  • Older people
  • An adult with mental health problems
  • An adult with learning disabilities
  • Disabled adults
  • Pregnant women
  • Anyone who’s ‘different’

Definition of domestic violence

‘is a term which refers to a wide range of physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse of people who are, or have been, intimate partners – whether or not the are married or co-habiting.  Although domestic violence can take place in any intimate relationship and abuse of men by women does occur, the great majority of domestic violence is perpetrated by men against women and their children’ (DOH 2000) visit http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/, call 0808 2000 247 or visit: Kent and Medway Multi Agency Protocol for Dealing with Cases of Domestic Abuse to Safeguard Vulnerable Adults

Adult abuse definition

"ABUSE is defined as any real or potential infliction of physical or psychological harm, injury or pain, which is the result of non-accidental: (a) Act or conduct (something someone does); (b) Failure to act when there is a duty to act (something someone fails to do.” (Kent County Council)

Examples of abuse include

  • Physical – slapping, biting, punching, cigarette burns, hitting with an implement or inappropriate restraint
  • Sexual – trafficking, rape, date rape and other sexual acts where consent has not been given or if the person does not understand what is happening to them
  • Emotional or psychological – threats and humiliating behaviour, withholding aids such as walking sticks, glasses, hearing aid or putting someone at risk of infection
  • Neglect – pressure sores, lack of food, medication, no heating, no personal care
  • Discrimination – unfair treatment because of you age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, chronic illness, social conditions
  • Institutional – repeated instances of poor care may result in more serious consequences. Poor professional practice may be occurring.

How do I report a case of suspected abuse

In an emergency always call 999. 

If the vulnerable adult is an in-patient at Darent Valley Hospital, discuss with the Safeguarding Office on 01322 428865 or dvh.safeguarding@nhs.net08.30 – 17.00 Monday to Friday. For all other urgent adult abuse enquiries please ask for the Social Services Duty Officer: 0845 762 6777 or (Textphone) 08458 247 905


Please be sure to speak to a qualified Social Worker

Other adult abuse enquires during office hours via: Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Co-ordinator, Dartford, Swanley, Gravesend, Joynes House, New Road, Gravesend, DA11 0AT or call 01474-328664.


Please note all information will be treated in confidence but there will be times when some information will be shared when it’s in the best interests of the vulnerable adult, or if applicable, to protect the public in general.

Other useful organisations



  • Community Learning Disability Team


  • Domestic Abuse
    01622 690690




 Other useful documents