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Adult Safeguarding

This page explains how to spot adult abuse, what you can do if you are being abused or you suspect somebody else is, and what James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust does to prevent it happening.

A vulnerable adult is a person aged 18 years or over who may be unable to take care of themselves, or protect themselves from harm or from being exploited.

This may be because they have a mental health problem, a disability, a sensory impairment, are old and frail, or have some form of illness.

We recognise that the abuse of adults is a reality. We don't believe that this is acceptable and are committed to confronting and eliminating adult abuse whenever it comes to our notice and involves people to whom we provide services.

We ensure that our staff are trained to be alert in detecting signs or symptoms of adult abuse.

  • it is everyone's responsibility to report abuse, if known to be occurring
  • it is every adult's right to live free from abuse in accordance with the principles of respect, dignity, autonomy, privacy and equality

Our Safeguarding Adults team works in partnership with other local statutory bodies, ensuring that appropriate policies, procedures, and practices are in place and implemented.

Questions and answers

What do we mean by abuse?

Abuse is a violation of a person's human rights or dignity by someone else. There are many kinds of abuse, including:

  • physical
  • sexual
  • psychological
  • financial or material
  • neglect or acts of omission
  • discriminatory
  • institutional.

Any of these forms of abuse can be either deliberate or the result of ignorance, or lack of training, knowledge or understanding. Often if a person is being abused in one way they are also being abused in other ways.

Who may be an abuser?

The person who is responsible for the abuse is often well known to the person abused and could be:

  • relatives and family members
  • professional staff
  • paid care workers
  • volunteers
  • other service users
  • neighbours
  • friends and associates
  • strangers
What are the signs?

Some of the signs to look for include:

  • multiple bruising or fingermarks
  • injuries the person cannot give a good reason for
  • deterioration of health for no apparent reason
  • loss of weight
  • inappropriate or inadequate clothing
  • withdrawal or mood changes
  • a carer who is unwilling to allow access to the person
  • an individual who is unwilling to be alone with a particular carer
  • unexplained shortage of money.
Where does abuse occur?

Abuse can happen in many different settings:

  • someone's own home
  • in a care home
  • in a hospital
  • in a day centre
  • in a public place
What do you need to do?
  • recognise it
  • report it
What will happen next?
  • what happens next depends on the wishes of the person and the seriousness of the situation.
  • in response to your call, trained staff will carry out a careful and sensitive enquiry in line with locally agreed procedures
  • information and advice will be offered so that the person and their family can make an informed choice about any practical help they need or action they wish to take
  • if they are unable to make an informed choice, care will be taken to support and protect them and do what is best for them

Useful contacts:

For general advice, or if you are unsure who to call, please contact our Safeguarding Adults Lead, Matron Julia Hunt, on 01493 452774 or.

If you are being abused or you suspect that someone you know may be the victim of abuse, contact Social Services 24 Access Service Team 0844-800-8014 if you live in Norfolk or Customer First Freephone on 0808 800 4005 if you live in Suffolk. Alternatively, visit

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