It is increasingly recognised that a significant number of patients could be considered to be 'Adults at risk'. These are adults (18 years or older), who because of issues with physical or mental health, or because of learning disability or sensory impairment could be considered as being vulnerable to abuse. Abuse has many forms, for example:
- Physical abuse such as: hitting, pushing, pinching, shaking, misuse of medication, scalding, inappropriate restraint, hair-pulling.
- Sexual abuse such as: rape or sexual assault; sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not or could not have consented, or to which they were pressurised into consenting.
- Psychological or emotional abuse such as: threats of harm or abandonment; deprivation of social or any other form of contact; humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, or harassment; verbal abuse; prevention from receiving services or support.
- Financial or material abuse such as: theft; fraud or exploitation; pressure in connection with wills, property, or inheritance; misuse of property, possessions or benefits.
- Neglect or acts of omission such as: ignoring medical or physical care needs; preventing access to health, social care, or educational services; withholding the necessities of life, such as food, drink, or heating.
- Discriminatory abuse such as that based upon a person's race, sexuality, or disability; any other forms of harassment or slurs.
- Domestic violence - all forms of abuse can be experienced in a family setting by a partner, family member, or with someone with whom there is a relationship.
- Institutional abuse and poor practice - disrespect and unethical practice, ill treatment and professional misconduct.
If you have concerns that an at-risk adult is being abused, advice and support is available. It is important that we all take responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
There is more information on the Surrey County Council Website, including how to identify and report possible abuse, and also practical information, such as fire safety resources: