Staying Safe and Safeguarding Adults

Staying safe - support for adults

This page has information on getting support with adult abuse and other forms of abuse.

This page also links to advice on:

Adult abuse / adult safeguarding

If you're concerned that someone may be at risk of harm, please report it.

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.

Sheffield City Council: Report adult abuse.

Call: 0114 273 4908 (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, FREEPOST NEA5527, Town Hall, Sheffield S1 2ZZ.

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

If you're a professional and you're worried that an adult is being abused or neglected, please see our advice for professionals at the bottom of the page.

What is adult abuse / adult safeguarding?

Abuse can happen to anyone, but some adults are more "at risk" of abuse or neglect because they are more vulnerable. See the full legal definition of safeguarding at the bottom of this section.

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,
  • unable to protect themselves from harm as a result of their care and support needs.

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.

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.

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.

Modern Slavery and Trafficking
Modern slavery is when a person is exploited, controlled or held captive, or threatened or punished to stop them escaping or reporting their abuse. Anyone can experience modern slavery, but you may be more at risk because of money, social or health issues, or because of your age or immigration status. The abuse can include threats and punishments and may involve violence. Modern slavery can also include human trafficking, when the person is moved between countries or around a country so they can be exploited.

GOV.UK has more information on identifying and reporting modern slavery.

GOV.UK: modern slavery.

The Snowdrop Project is a local service that supports people with Modern Slavery and Trafficking.

Snowdrop Project.

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 (such as 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.

Neglect or acts of omission
Failure to provide or allow access to food, shelter, clothing, heating, stimulation and activity, personal or medical care. Failure to administer medication as prescribed . Not taking account of individuals’ cultural, religious or ethnic needs. Preventing the person from making their own decisions. Preventing access to glasses, hearing aids, dentures etc.

Lack of self-care to an extent that it threatens personal health and safety. A person neglecting to care for their person hygiene, health or surroundings. Failure to seek help or access services to met health and social care needs. Inability or unwillingness to manage personal affairs.

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.

The legal definition of safeguarding

The Care Act Statutory Guidance states:
Safeguarding means protecting an adult’s right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is about people and organisations working together to prevent and stop both the risks and experience of abuse or neglect, while at the same time making sure that the adult’s wellbeing is promoted including, where appropriate, having regard to their views, wishes, feelings and beliefs in deciding on any action. 

Other types of abuse

This section has advice on reporting child abuse, domestic abuse and hate crime and hate incidents.

Child abuse
If you are worried that a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm then phone the Sheffield Safeguarding Hub on 0114 273 4855 (24 hours) to speak to a social worker. If a child is in immediate danger then call 999 for a police response.

The Hub is the first point of contact for child protection concerns. 

Sheffield Children Safeguarding Partnership: Safeguarding Hub.

Domestic abuse
The Sheffield Domestic Abuse Helpline is free to call from mobiles and landlines. Call 0808 808 2241. In an emergency call 999. If you can't speak to the operator press 55 and you will be connected to the Police (only on a mobile phone).

Get more information about domestic abuse from the Sheffield Drug and Alcohol/Domestic Abuse Coordination Team (DACT) website.

Sheffield DACT: Domestic abuse.

Hate crime and hate incidents
A hate crime is an incident you feel was motivated by prejudice or hate. This can because of your race, religious beliefs, sexuality or gender.

By reporting a hate crime or incident, you can help stop it happening to someone else. You will also help the police and partners to better understand the level of hate crime and improve the way we respond to it.

You can report hate crime and hate incidents by contacting South Yorkshire Police.

South Yorkshire Police: What is hate crimeReport hate crime.

Call: 101 (in an emergency call 999).

Advice for professionals – reporting an adult safeguarding concern.

If you're a professional and you're worried that an adult is being abused or neglected, you can report it to the Council's First Contact Team.

Sheffield City Council: Report adult abuse.

Call: 0114 273 4908. Please be aware phone lines are busy and you may have to wait some time before your call is answered.


You can also complete a Safeguarding Adults Concern Form.

Safeguarding Adults Concern Form (Word, 38 KB). Please provide as much detail as possible. Email the form to the team.


Concerns are screened daily to assess initial risk. The team may contact you and other people involved to ask for more information.

Details of Multi Agency Adult Safeguarding Training can be found on the Sheffield Adult Safeguarding Partnership's website.

Sheffield Adult Safeguarding Partnership: Multi Agency Training.

You can also read more about the Sheffield Adult Safeguarding Partnership on their website. 

Sheffield Adult Safeguarding Partnership.


View all services on the directory that help keep you safe.

Adult abuse.

Child abuse.

Domestic and sexual abuse.

Keeping safe.

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