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Call 999 For emergency calls only
Call 101 For all non emergencies
Call 101 For All non emergencies

Durham Constabulary works closely with partner agencies in the prevention and protection from abuse of vulnerable adults ensuring the safety and protection of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

A vulnerable adult is someone who is or may be in need of community services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

If you have concerns about someone's welfare please contact us on 101 and provide as much information as possible, including:

  • The person's details
  • Where they live (or relatives who they visit)
  • Why are you concerned

Remember to always call 999 in an emergency. 

What is abuse?


  • Any deliberate act to cause physical harm including:
    • Hitting
    • Slapping
    • Pushing
    • Kicking
    • Misuse of medication 
    • Restraint

Financial or material:

  • Theft
  • Fraud
  • Exploitation
  • Pressure in connection with wills, property or inheritance
  • Pressure in connection with financial transactions, or misusing property, possessions and benefits


  • Involvement in a sexual act to which the vulnerable person
    • Has not consented
    • To which he or she could not consent 
    • Was pressured into consenting

Neglect and acts of omission:

  • Ignoring medical or physical care needs
  • Withholding the necessities of life such as:
    • Nutrition
    • Heating
    • Medication


  • Emotional abuse
  • Threats to harm or abandon the person
  • Depriving them of contact
  • Humiliating them
  • Blaming them
  • Controlling them
  • Intimidating them
  • Coercing them
  • Harassing them,
  • Verbal abuse
  • Isolation 
  • Withdrawing services and support networks


  • Based on:
    • Culture
    • Sex
    • Age
    • Disability
    • Sexual orientation 
    • Religion


  • Mistreatment or abuse by an organization or the individuals within it


  • Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse occurring between adults who are or have been in an intimate relationship or are family members – regardless of gender or sexuality.

Where does the abuse take place?

  • Own home
  • A carer’s home
  • Day care
    Residential care
  • Nursing home
  • Hospital

Who abuses?

An abuser is usually known to the person being abused and can include:

    • Partner, child, relative
    • Friend/neighbours
    • Paid/volunteer worker
    • Health/social worker or other professional