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Who is an adult at risk?

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An adult might be considered at risk if they are aged 18 years or over and:

  • has needs for care and support (whether or not the local council is meeting any of those needs) and;
  • is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect; and
  • as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.

An adult at risk may be a person who:

  • Is elderly and frail due to ill health
  • Has a learning disability
  • Has a physical disability and / or a sensory impairment
  • Has mental health needs including dementia or personality disorder
  • Has a long -term illness /or condition
  • Misuses substances or alcohol
  • Is unable to make their own decisions and is in need of care and support
  • Is a young adult, over the age of 18, who has care and support needs and is 'in transition' from childrens' to adults' services
  • Is a carer (looking after another person with care and support needs)

This list is not exhaustive, other people might also be considered to be adults at risk.

If you think that you or someone you know is being subjected to abuse then please go to our page What to do if you think someone is at risk of being abused for advice and details on whom to contact.

Other information and advice

Easy read buttonOur colleagues at Suffolk County Council have produced an excellent video which explains more about abuse and neglect, and may be particularly helpful for people with learning disabilities or dementia.


Easy read buttonThe Easy Health website has gathered together various  easy-read leaflets and videoswhich will help people with learning disabilities to understand what abuse is, and to know what to do if they think they are being subjected to abuse.

Last updated: 19/07/2021