How do I report harm or a concern?

Black and white image of elderly lady in an armchair

Abuse can happen to anyone, but some adults are more "at risk" of abuse or neglect because they are more vulnerable.

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 and

  • As a result of their care and support needs are unable to protect themselves from harm

Reporting Abuse

If you or someone you know is being abused (or you suspect they are).

Speak out! Don't ignore it! Report it!

If you or someone else is in immediate danger call 999.

If there is no immediate danger 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 Safeguarding Team in your area:

Next steps

If you report adult abuse to us we will:

  • Listen to you

  • Take all concerns seriously

  • Treat the information you give us in the strictest confidence

  • Help to stop the abuse

  • Keep you informed and involved at each stage of our safeguarding adults procedure

In Sheffield we have a Safeguarding Partnership which is made up of a range of organisations including ourselves, NHS, police and voluntary sector.

These organisations work closely together to make sure that all cases of suspected abuse are investigated fully and that vulnerable adults are protected from harm.

Types of Abuse

Abuse can take many forms, including:

What to do if you Suspect Abuse


You should call 101 to report crime and other concerns that do not require an emergency response.

When should I use 101?

Use 101 to report crimes and concerns such as:

  • Your car has been stolen
  • Your property has been damaged
  • You suspect drug use or dealing in your neighbourhood

Or to:

  • Give the police information about crime in your area
  • Speak to the police about a general enquiry

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.