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Who is an adult at risk?

An adult, aged 18 years or over, might be considered at risk if they:

  • have needs for care and support (whether or not the local council is meeting any of those needs)
  • are experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • as a result of those care and support needs are unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect

An adult at risk may be a person who:

  • is elderly and frail due to ill health
  • has a learning disability
  • has a physical disability and/or a sensory impairment
  • has mental health needs including dementia or personality disorder
  • has a long-term illness or condition
  • self-neglects or self-harms
  • misuses substances or alcohol
  • is unable to make their own decisions and is in need of care and support
  • is a young adult, over the age of 18, who has care and support needs and is 'in transition' from childrens' to adults' services
  • is a carer (looking after another person with care and support needs)

This list is not exhaustive, other people might also be considered to be adults at risk.

As a community, we have a fundamental duty of care to the vulnerable. Anyone found mistreating or neglecting those at risk could face the very serious charges of abuse or neglect.

If you think that you or someone you know is being subjected to abuse then please go to our page What to do if you think someone is at risk of being abused for advice and details on whom to contact.

Alternatively, you can call AskSAL, the safeguarding adults in Essex service, on 0345 266 6663.

AskSAL can help you with anything from straightforward information and advice about abuse to the disclosure of a specific concern. They'll take your concerns seriously and ensure that it is investigated appropriately.

Other information and advice

Suffolk County Council have produced an excellent video which explains more about abuse and neglect, and may be particularly helpful for people with learning disabilities or dementia.

The Easy Health website has gathered together various easy-read leaflets and videos which will help people with learning disabilities to understand what abuse is, and to know what to do if they think they're being subjected to abuse.

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