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Adult Abuse

Abuse can happen to anyone, but some adults are more "at risk" of abuse or neglect because they are more vulnerable.

A person is defined as an "adult at risk" if they are:

  • 18 years or older
  • In need of care and support (whether or not they get any) because of their age, disability, illness, mental health needs, drug or alcohol misuse.
  • As a result of their care and support needs are unable to protect themselves from harm

Reporting adult abuse

If you or someone else is in immediate danger call 999.

If there is no immediate danger you can call the police on 101 or you can tell someone you trust. This might be someone in your family, a friend or neighbour, or it could be a professional, like your doctor, social worker or care worker.

If you don't want to tell someone you know, you can tell the Council’s Adult Access Team:

Telephone: 0114 2734908 (you can ring this number anytime).
Email: (do not include personal information if you do not have a secure email address)

Call in: First Point at Howden House, Union Street, Sheffield S1 2HH.

Write to: Adult Access Team Corporate Mail Facility
Town Hall
S1 2ZZ.

There are also specialist abuse
websites and helplines

All reports of abuse will be taken seriously and be treated with the strictest confidence.

Reporting other types of abuse

If you or the person you are concerned about is not an "adult at risk" but you wish to report abuse:

Report child abuse

Report domestic abuse

Report hate crime

A hate crime is an incident you feel was motivated by prejudice or hate e.g. because of your race, religious beliefs, sexuality or gender.

What is abuse and who can cause you harm?

Abuse is any action which harms another person. It includes:

Physical abuse

Hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, burning, locking someone in a room, inappropriate restraint, misuse of medication.

Verbal abuse

Shouting or swearing.

Domestic abuse

Physical, sexual, financial, psychological and emotional abuse. Also includes so called "honour" based violence.

Sexual abuse

Rape, sexual assault, forcing someone to take part in or witness a sexual act against their will, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual photography.

Emotional or psychological abuse

Bullying, controlling, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact from people or support services, being laughed at, made to feel frightened or being pressured into decisions.

Financial or material abuse

Fraud, stealing, misusing or withholding someone's money or belongings, pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance.


Being left without food, heating, care or medication.


Ill treatment or harassment based on a person's age, gender, sexuality, disability, race or religious belief.

Organisational abuse

Neglect or poor care within a care setting (e.g. a care home or hospital or care provided in one’s own home) resulting from failure by that care provider to meet the care needs of people in their care.

People who may cause harm

People who may cause harm can be partners, family members, relatives, people who work or volunteer in health or social care services, another service user, friends, neighbours or strangers.

Abuse can happen just once or may carry on for months or years.

Last Updated: 04/05/2021
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