Adults at risk

Abuse is when someone damages a person’s quality of life or puts them in danger. 

Some adults are more at risk than others. This can include people who:

  • depend on other people for care
  • have mental health problems
  • have a learning or physical disability
  • have dementia or memory loss
  • misuse alcohol or drugs

Abuse can happen anywhere

It can happen:

  • at home
  • in care homes
  • in hospitals
  • in day centre
  • in public

It is often done by a known person.

If someone is harmed or abused

If someone tells you they are being harmed or abused, you should:

  • stay calm and listen
  • take what they say seriously
  • offer support to help them stop the abuse
  • keep evidence safe
  • write down exactly what the person tells you

Contact the Police

Always contact the Police if someone is in immediate danger.


  • 999 in an emergency
  • 101 for all other problems


Adult social care useful numbers

Contact adult social services or the Police as soon as you can, or you can ask someone you trust to contact them for you.

During office hours

  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole - 01202 123654
  • Dorset Council - 01305 221 016

During evenings and weekend

  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole - 0300 123 9895
  • Dorset - 01305 858 250

Examples of abuse

  • Physical - hitting, punching, restraining
  • Emotional - intimidating, threatening, humiliating
  • Sexual - sexual activity which is not wanted or not understood
  • Financial - stealing money, property, or possessions
  • Neglect - not providing food, drink, clothing, attention, or care
  • Modern slavery - human trafficking, exploitation
  • Cyberbullying - bullying or other harm using the internet
  • Domestic violence - controlling, threatening behaviour, violence between partners or family members