Safeguarding Adults : Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

Safeguarding Adults

Urgent Alert

If it is an emergency and immediate Police support is required please dial 999.

For all non-emergencies contact 101.

The Care Act 2014 defines an adult at risk as a person:

  • Who is 18 years and over
  • Who has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs)
  • Is experiencing, or at risk of abuse or neglect
  • Who as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of or the experience of abuse or neglect.

The Care Act promotes ‘Making Safeguarding Personal’ which means that the adult at risk should be at the centre of all enquiries and decisions being made throughout the safeguarding process.

What is abuse?

Abuse can be something that is done to a person, or omitted from being done. Abuse may consist of single or repeated acts and can be carried out by anyone, in any setting. It may result in significant harm to, or exploitation of, the individual. Abuse can include one or more of the following:

  • Physical: This includes hitting, pinching, deliberately giving too much medication or physically restraining someone in an inappropriate way - for example, being locked in or force-fed.
  • Financial: This includes taking another person's money or possessions  - for example, having money or property stolen, being pressured into giving people money or changing a will, misuse of benefits, not being allowed access to money.
  • Sexual: This includes any sexual act to which the vulnerable adult has not consented and may not understand. For example, being touched or kissed when it is not wanted, being made to touch or kiss someone else, being raped, being made to listen to sexual comments or forced to look at sexual acts or materials.
  • Psychological: This can happen where someone is isolated, verbally abused or threatened.
  • Discrimination: This includes racism, sexism or acts based on a person’s disability, age or sexual orientation. It also includes other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment such as disability hate crime.
  • Organisational: Neglect and poor care practice within a care setting such as a hospital or care home or in relation to care provided in someone’s own home, ranging from one off incidents to ongoing ill-treatment. It can be neglect or poor practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within a care setting.
  • Neglect and Acts of Omission: This includes ignoring or withholding physical or medical care needs. Examples are failing to provide appropriate food, shelter, heating, clothing, medical care, hygiene, personal care; inappropriate use of medication or over-medication.
  • Self-neglect: Self-neglect covers a wide range of behaviour including neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and behaviour such as hoarding.
  • Abuse of individual rights / Discriminatory or Racial Abuse: Abuse of individual rights is a violation of human and civil rights by any other person or persons. Discriminatory abuse consists of abusive or derisive attitudes or behaviour based on a person’s sex, sexuality, ethnic origin, race, culture, age, disability or any other discriminatory abuse - this includes hate crime. Forced marriage is also an abuse of human rights and falls within the definition of adult abuse. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has issued draft guidance entitled ‘Young people and vulnerable adults facing forced marriage – practice guidance for social workers’. Read more at
  • Professional: Professional abuse is the misuse of therapeutic power and abuse of trust by professionals, the failure of professionals to act on suspected abuse/crimes, poor care practice or neglect in services, resource shortfalls or service pressures that lead to service failure and culpability as a result of poor management systems/structures. Examples of behaviour: entering into a sexual relationship with a patient/client.
  • Domestic: The government defines domestic violence and abuse as ‘any incidents or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over, who are or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can encompass, but is not limited to psychological, sexual, financial or emotional abuse’. In addition the Serious Crime Act 2015 includes a new offence of coercive and controlling behaviour which can impose a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment, a fine or both.
  • Modern Slavery: Encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude of the adult at risk.
  • Hate Crime: Hate crime is where a crime is committed against a person specifically because of their gender, ethnicity, disability, religious belief or sexual orientation. If an adult at risk is specifically targeted as a victim of crime this is a hate crime.
  • Mate Crime is where someone befriends an adult at risk with the intention of exploiting or abusing them. The person often believes they are their ‘friend’ but will go on to be abused e.g financially, physically or psychologically.
  • Forced Marriage: Forced Marriage is where one or both people do not or cannot consent to the marriage and pressure or abuse is used to make sure the marriage takes place. Under the The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 Forced Marriage is now a criminal offence to force someone to marry; therefore the Police must always be contacted as quickly as possible.
  • Honour Based Violence: Honour Based Violence is a crime; therefore if it is suspected or the person discloses abuse, the Police must always be contacted as quickly as possible. Honour Based Violence (or killing) is used by people who want to defend the reputation of their family or community. It can also include enforced isolation from their community.
  • FGM (Female Genital Mutilation): FGM involves procedures that involve total or partial removal of the female external genitalia or other injury to the female genitalia for non-medical reasons. Predominantly carried out on young girls, it is considered child abuse and is illegal in the UK.

The Trust has an obligation to all people who receive our services to protect them from being abused or abusing others in line with one of the Trust's key Vision and Values 'I feel safe'.

If you suspect that someone is being abused, is at risk of being abused or is abusing others please say something!


Raising a Safeguarding Concern

If you are concerned that you or someone you know is being abused, please report it to a member of Trust staff or the appropriate council safeguarding team.

Surrey: Contact the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

Tel: 0300 470 9100

Hampshire: Contact Hampshire Adult Services

Tel: 0300 555 1386

Croydon: Contact Croydon Multi-Agency Safeguarding Adults Board

Tel: 020 8726 6500

Hounslow: Contact Hounslow Safeguarding Adults Board

Tel: 020 8583 3100

Sussex: Contact Brighton and Hove Safeguarding Adults Board

Tel: 01273 295 555 

Safeguarding Adults Boards

For further information about Safeguarding Adults in Surrey and Hampshire visit the Surrey and Hampshire Safeguarding Adults Board websites:


The Trust is required to have a Safeguarding Adults Policy that adheres to the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Adults Procedures of Surrey, Hampshire County and Croydon Safeguarding Adults Boards.

Useful Resources

Below are some useful links to information about safeguarding adults:

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