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Safe from abuse

Safeguarding adults is about protecting those at risk of harm (vulnerable adults) from suffering abuse or neglect.  We all have the right to live our lives free from abuse. It is recognised that certain groups of people may be more likely to experience abuse and less able to access services or support to keep themselves safe.  It is important that people know how to find help if they or someone they know might be experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect.

Under the Care Act (2014), an adult at risk is someone over 18 years old who:

  • has care and support needs
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • as a result of their care and support needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it

If someone has care and support needs but is not currently receiving care or support from a health or care service, they may still be an adult at risk.

An adult at risk may therefore be a person who:

  • is old and frail due to ill health, physical disability or cognitive impairment
  • has a learning disability
  • has a physical disability or a sensory impairment or both
  • has mental health needs including dementia or a personality disorder
  • has a long term illness or condition
  • misuses substances or alcohol
  • is a carer such as a family member or friend who provides personal assistance and care to adults and is subject to abuse
  • is unable to demonstrate the capacity to make a decision and is in need of care and support

Although, anyone can be at risk of abuse or exploitation. 

Report your concern – Devon Local Authority boundaries

If an adult is in immediate danger, call 999 and ask for the police.

Members of the public

If you suspect that a vulnerable adult is being abused, or you are being abused yourself and live within Devon Local Authority boundaries, please contact us by:

  • Calling Adult social care on 0345 1551 007 (Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm; Friday 9am to 4pm)
  • Outside of the hours above or on bank holidays call the Emergency Duty Service on 0345 6000 388

Or you can email (for explanation of areas look at contact us page):

Financial abuse and scams

Every year thousands of people across the country are conned or have problems with scammers or rogue traders.

If something sounds too good to be true it probably is. Devon and Somerset Trading Standards useful local and national information covering:

  • how to spot scams
  • how to protect yourself from scams
  • what to do if you think you’ve been scammed.

If you are worried that you are the victim of financial abuse – where money or possessions are taken by relatives, friends or carers without your permission – call the Police on 101 or contact the Devon CAB Adviceline on 08444 111 444.

You can also call us on 0345 155 1007. We can advise you, or put you in contact with our Safeguarding Adults Team who can investigate financial abuse concerns.

Age UK has a factsheet about protecting yourself from financial abuse and keeping your money safe.

To find out more useful information and videos

Domestic violence

If you would like to talk to someone, call the Devon Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0345 155 1074.

Domestic abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members.

Domestic abuse is rarely a one-off incident and is a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour through which the abuser seeks power over their victim. It occurs across the whole of society, regardless of age, gender, race, sexuality, disability, religion, class, or lifestyle and income.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse there is help available.

Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse has information about support in Devon and contact details for Devon-wide and local organisations which can help you.
Helpline: 0345 155 1074
Rape Crisis Helpline: 0808 802 9999

Sexual violence

If you are in immediate danger call 999 now

Would you like to talk to someone?
Phone the Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999 FREE
Lines are open 7 days a week 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm–9.30pm

Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including but not restricted to: rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape within marriage/relationships, forced marriage, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), trafficking, sexual exploitation, and ritual abuse.

Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner.

Sexual violence can happen to anyone. If you have been raped or sexually assaulted help is available.

Devon Sexual Violence and Abuse has information on getting help, contacting the police and reporting an assault.

Devon Rape Crisis can give you help and support by email, over the phone or face-to-face.
Helpline: 01392 204174

Find services, groups and clubs in Devon on the Pinpoint website

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