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Protecting people from abuse

"I didn't think it could happen to me. I've always known what to do but I realised that this was something I couldn't deal with on my own but I didn't know who to turn to. Luckily, my carer realised I wasn't quite my usual self and encouraged me to talk."

What is adult abuse?

The abuser is usually well known to the person. This can be a friend, relative or anyone who has or takes responsibility to care for the person either at home, in hospital or in a care home. Abuse can occur when staff are inadequately trained or supervised and have poor management or guidance. The strain of caring for someone, especially on a long-term basis, can lead people to act in ways that they should not. Family members in particular can put pressure on older relatives to make decisions that otherwise they would not make.

Awareness

Not all people are vulnerable to abuse. Those who still manage their own money, make their own decisions, are able to look after themselves and who have a wide network of friends and family are much less likely to suffer abuse. However, the likelihood of abuse happening cannot be ruled out altogether. In social care, we sometimes talk about "vulnerable adults" or "adults at risk" when we are concerned about people who are unable to protect themselves from abuse.

For more information, please download the leaflets:

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Prevention

Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity. The earlier abuse is reported, the less long-term harm can be carried out.

Types of abuse

Financial abuse

It is financial abuse to take money or possessions without permission. The use or disposal of money or possessions through wills, powers of attorney or in an attempt to avoid inheritance tax or paying for care is also financial abuse. If you have a care package at home from social services and the carers do not turn up as expected or do not stay for their allocated time, this is also financial abuse. If you are pressurised to buy goods or services you do not want, this is also considered as financial abuse.

Emotional abuse

This abuse takes many forms, including depriving an individual of their right to choose the way they live, are treated or spoken to. It includes someone being rude to you, being verbally aggressive, shouting at or humiliating you. This could be someone you trust. This can be very distressing and can have serious consequences for the person being abused.

Neglect

Denying someone their basic needs is abuse and neglect.

Sexual abuse

This form of abuse is the least likely to be talked about but does happen. Any unwanted sexual contact or verbal suggestion is unacceptable, whatever your age or gender.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse may take many forms. Any inappropriate or unwanted physical contact is abuse. Restraint that is unnecessary or too controlling, so that it results in you being isolated from your friends, family and any help that is offered for your care is also abuse.

Domestic abuse website

Domestic abuse is any incident, threatening behaviour or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

For more information on services that help you, or if you are subject to domestic violence, visit Domestic Abuse: Support Services in Kent and Medway.

What can you do if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse?

If you are being abused, you need to know that you are not to blame for the way you are being treated. Everyone has the right to live without fear and the right to safe, healthy relationships and to have control over their own life.

Talk to the person who is abusing you or get someone to speak to them on your behalf. Make it clear that the way they are treating you is not acceptable and that you want it to stop. Sometimes people who are close to you do not realise you are unhappy unless you tell them.

Seek legal advice if you are concerned about any legal agreements that you are not sure about. The Civil Legal Advice website has more information.

If you have a concern about a child or children being at risk of abuse or neglect, please report this to Medway Customer First Team using the contact details below. For more information, visit the Medway Safeguarding Children Board website. 

Action

Never feel embarrassed about highlighting abuse. Do not be afraid to complain or make a fuss. Sometimes the police need to know about abuse but if you are worried about contacting the police, contact the council. Many abuse victims are unable to speak up for themselves. Speak to your community police officer, local social worker, church, community nurse or general practitioner. If you suspect that a person is being abused, tell someone.

Talk

If you are being abused, talk to someone you trust. This may help you decide what you can do about it. If you are not ready to seek help, that is your choice but you may still want some information. Information gives you choice and personal power. Do not try to cover it up. If the abuse is occurring in the hospital or care home, it should be reported to the person in charge promptly.

If you are in immediate danger, call 999. Kent Police has information on their website on how to report an incident or contact them. Or contact the council using the details below and talk to someone in confidence.

Tell us about your concerns

To discuss or tell us your adult protection concerns, please phone our Medway Adult Social Care Department on 01634 334466 between 8.30am and 5pm, or at any other time our out-of-hours service on 0845 7626777.

If you are concerned about the care and treatment of someone then report it.

You can send us more information by using our Adult Social Care Safeguarding Alert Form

On receipt of this form Medway Council Adult Social Care may work in partnership with other agencies, services and relevant people to support you or somebody you think may need protecting.

National Whistleblowing Helpline

If you work in health or social care services and you would like some help and advice about 'whistleblowing' then please contact the National Whistleblowing helpline or you can contact the Care Quality Commission via their whistleblowing page.

 

For more information contact Adults and Children's Services Team by telephone: 01634 334466 / 24 hour emergency 0845 7626777 / TextRelay 18001 01634 334466 or by email: ss.accessandinfo@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Adults and Children's Services Team, Customer First, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR