Adult safeguarding

This page gives you the important information you may need if you are concerned about the safety and welfare of a vulnerable adult.

Who is at risk of abuse

Some adults are less able to protect themselves than others and some have difficulty making their wishes and feelings known. This may make them vulnerable to abuse.

An adult at risk is defined as someone 18 years of age or over who is or may be in need of care services and; is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

Abuse can take many forms and can include:

  • physical abuse, such as being hit, kicked, locked in a room
  • sexual abuse, such as being made to take part in sexual activity when the adult has not given or is not able to give consent
  • psychological abuse, such as being shouted at, ridiculed or bullied
  • financial or material abuse, such as theft, fraud, exploitation or misuse of someone else’s finances
  • neglect, where a person’s physical, medical or emotional needs are not met
  • modern slavery, including human trafficking and forced labour
  • domestic abuse, including psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse (this may be carried out by a family member or someone who is, or has been, in a close relationship with the person being abused)
  • self-neglect, when an adult refuses care which has a significant impact on their wellbeing
  • organisational abuse, when neglect or poor practice occurs within an organisation
  • discriminatory abuse, such as harassment or insults due to disability, age, religion, sexuality, gender or race.

What can I do if I suspect abuse?

If you suspect abuse, take action. Don’t assume that someone else is doing something about the situation. If you are concerned about yourself or a person you know, it is important you share your concerns. No one should have to live with abuse or neglect. It is always wrong, whatever the circumstances.

Contact adult social care services in your local area to report concerns or seek advice. Find your local authority (adult social care)

How we can help you

Share your concerns and seek advice from your doctor, nurse or any health or social care professional. Read our leaflet on adult safeguarding for more information:

Adult safeguarding leaflet

Easy read adult safeguarding leaflet

Further support

  • National domestic violence helpline - available 24 hours a day - freephone: 0808 2000 247
  • Samaritans helpline - available 24 hours a day - 116 123
  • Action on Elder Abuse helpline - available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday: 080 8808 8141
  • Mencap learning disability helpline - available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday: 0808 808 1111
  • National dementia helpline - available 9am-8pm, Monday to Wednesday, 9am-5pm, Friday, 10am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday: 0300 222 1122
  • Shelter housing advice helpline - available 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday: Emergency number: 080 8302 5861 Non- emergency number: 0808 301 4551
  • Moorfields’ patient advice and liaison service (PALS): 020 7566 2324 or 020 7566 2325 or

For further information regarding safeguarding adults at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, please email

Last updated: 21st October 2019