Protecting vulnerable people

What does it do?

We have procedures for dealing with cases of vulnerable adult abuse.

Who it is for?

For vulnerable people in Oxfordshire

Where it is available?

Local service (South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse, West Oxfordshire, Cherwell, Oxford).

How to access or apply for it:

Contact Social and Community Services by ringing 0845 050 7666,
or you can email

Abuse is often a crime. If you need urgent help or a crime has been committed you should contact the police.

If it an emergency you should call 999. It is an emergency if:
- someone is in immediate danger or need of medical attention,
- a serious crime is in the process of being committed e.g. theft / rape / serious physical assault or
- a serious crime has just been committed or the perpetrator is still nearby or others are at immediate risk of harm

Otherwise you should call the Thames Valley Police Public Enquiry Centre on 0845 8 505 505.

The Care Quality Commission

If you, a friend or relative, live in a care home or have care at home and are not happy with the care you are getting you can contact the Care Quality Commission who can give you advice on what your rights are and how to complain. You can contact them by ringing 03000 616161.

Other organisations 
You can also talk to these organisations in confidence:
- Action against Elder Abuse: Free helpline at 0808 808 8141
- Oxfordshire Age Concern: Advice and helpline numbers: Abingdon 01235 849400; Banbury 01295 278040
- Voice UK: free helpline for people with learning difficulties. Telephone: 0845 122 8695
- MINDinfoline for mental health related issues. Telephone 0845 766 0163 Email:
- The Samaritans: for emotional support. 08457 909090

Additional information:

Abuse can happen anywhere – at home, in a residential or nursing home, a hospital, in the workplace or in the street.

What is abuse?
Forms of abuse include:
- physical: being hurt or harmed either deliberately or through rough, careless or thoughtless behaviour.
- emotional abuse or bullying: being humiliated or put down or made to feel anxious, frightened or intimidated.
- financial abuse or theft: someone using your money or possessions in a way that you don’t want or isn’t in your best interest.
- neglect: not being given the things you need to feel safe and comfortable or not making sure you get the care or treatment you need.
- sexual abuse: being made to do something that you don’t want to, didn’t or couldn’t agree to.

Who is vulnerable?
Some adults are particularly vulnerable to abuse such as people who have:
- dementia
- a learning disability
- a mental health problem
- a drug or alcohol problem
- a disability or sensory impairment
- or who through age or illness are dependent on other people to help them
- or who care for others.
Anyone can be vulnerable to abuse at some time in their lives. Both men and women, rich and poor, and from any ethnic background can be at risk of being abused.

Who carries out the abuse?
The person who is responsible for the abuse is often well known to the person abused. It isn't always intentional. They could be:
- a paid carer or volunteer
- a health worker, social care or other worker
- a relative, friend or neighbour
- another resident or service user
- an occasional visitor or someone who is providing a service
- someone who deliberately exploits vulnerable people.

Talk to someone
- Are you unhappy or frightened because of something that is happening to you?
- Or, do you know someone who is?
- Or, are you caring for someone and feel you need help?

Please tell someone. It can be difficult to talk to someone about what is happening because:
- the person abusing you is someone you love and trust
- you feel guilty
- you depend on the person abusing you for care or financial support
- you may feel you deserve what is happening to you
- you feel frightened of what might happen if you tell someone
- you may feel it’s none of your business
- you may not know who to talk to about the situation

These are powerful reasons but they should not stop you telling someone. It can get better if you ask for help.

Where to get help?
You can get help just by talking to someone you trust, such as:
- your GP or doctor
- your social worker or care manager
- home carers
- community or district nurses
- inspectors from the Care Quality Commission
- day care workers
- hospital staff.

Oxfordshire County Council
We have procedures for dealing with cases of vulnerable adult abuse. You can contact Social and Community Services by ringing 0845 050 7666, or you can email


Info last updated:

P.O. Box 780, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 9GX