Working together to keep adults safe from harm or abuse
11 January 2017

Barnsley Safeguarding Adults Board is raising awareness about how everyone can work together to keep adults safe from harm and abuse and how to report any concerns.

The Barnsley Safeguarding Adults Board, which Barnsley CCG is a member of, is already working hard to prevent abuse, neglect and exploitation of adults in the borough and to help people live a life free from any type of abuse.

Everyone has the right to live their life free from violence, fear and abuse and to be respected by other people, but not everyone can protect themselves. Safeguarding is about protecting adults, who might struggle to prevent harm/abuse without help from a range of organisations including Barnsley Council, health services and other partners.

Ideally this work and knowledge will prevent harm and abuse by making sure that people have easy access to health, social care and other services to stay well and safe.

The Care Act says an adult at risk is someone over 18 who is eligible for care and support, (this might be linked to mental ill health, disabilities, or illness), who is being hurt or abused, neglected or at risk of harm or abuse and who will be unable to prevent or stop the harm without other people’s help.

Some adults may not be able to make these choices due to factor such as dementia, however a a best interest decision would be made to agree what actions should be taken to keep them safe or stop them being hurt or abused.

Lots of adults may be at risk, either temporarily due to illness or permanently due to a learning disability. Many adults, who live with a learning disability, may live independently or without services; these adults may be targeted as they may be seen as 'easy targets'.

Abuse can be:

  • physical - example hitting, pushing, shaking, being held down, misusing medication
  • sexual - rape, sexual assault, inappropriate touching
  • domestic - controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, 'honour' based violence, female genital mutilation, forced marriage 
  • emotional or psychological - threats of harm or abandonment, humiliation, teasing, controlling, intimidation
  • financial or material - theft, fraud, misuse, not having a say how money is spent, pressure in connection with wills of property or possessions
  • neglect - ignoring medical or physical care needs or when people fail to treat an individual as an equal by not thinking about their feelings and dignity.
  • self-neglect - neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene or health
  • discriminatory - abuse based on race, sexuality or a person's disability
  • modern slavery - forced labour, debt bondage, sexual exploitation 
  • mate crime or tricky friends - when people who someone thinks are friends take advantage of them, for example getting a vulnerable person to pay for everything all of the time
  • organisational - abuse taking place in residential/nursing homes or hospitals.

Abuse can happen anywhere - in a residential or nursing home, a hospital, in the workplace, at a day centre or educational establishment, in supported housing, in the street or in the person's own home.

The abuser is often someone known to the adult – a family member, friend or someone paid to provide care and/or support for them. It is also possible it might be a stranger – a bogus workman or rogue trader who might target adults who will struggle to keep themselves safe.

Sometimes a person doesn’t realise that their behaviour is abusive and they see the behaviour as normal for families and friends, for example taking money and never paying it back. This is often known as mate crime.  Any abuse is wrong.

Barnsley Council and its partners will always work with the adult to agree what they want to reduce the risks and stop the harm/abuse, if they are not able to make these choices, conversations would take place with their family or friends about what actions would help them to live free from harm or abuse.

Anyone can be the eyes and ears of an at-risk person and help protect them from being hurt or abused.

People worried about the possible abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult who is not in immediate danger are urged to contact Barnsley Customer Access Team on 01226 773300, the out of hours Emergency Duty Team on 0844 984 1800 or email

People who believe an adult is in immediate danger are urged to contact the police on 999.

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