Raise a concern about an adult

What to do if you think an adult is being harmed, abused or neglected.

1 How to raise a concern

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

If your concerns are about yourself or a person finding it difficult to manage daily living tasks because of an illness or disability, contact Adults Services for advice and guidance.

If you think someone vulnerable is experiencing, or at risk of being abused or neglected, raise a safeguarding referral.

Complete a safeguarding referral (external link)

If you report a concern outside of usual working hours (Monday-Friday, 9.00am-5.00pm) it will not be viewed until the next working day, when we will aim to provide a response.

You should ask the person or their representative for their consent to report the concern unless this increases the risk to them or you.

Other ways to contact us

Sending us the information on our online form is the best way of reporting your concerns but, if you prefer, you can call us on:

  • Phone: 01243 642121 (not to be used by professionals)

For emergencies only

To report an urgent concern that requires a same day response, call the Adult Social Care out of hours manager on 033 022 27007.

2 What happens next

  • We will try to talk to the adult at risk as soon as possible about what they want to happen and what support they may want to help them keep safe. If the person refuses help but others may be at risk, we will take appropriate action but will always keep the person who is at risk informed.
  • We will talk to the police if it is a criminal matter.
  • We will also talk to those involved and ask them what has happened, including other professionals.
  • Once we have gathered the relevant information, we will decide whether we need to take further action, following our safeguarding procedures.

3 How we support adults at risk

Across Sussex, health services, adult social care services and the police have agreed ways of working together to prevent, respond to and look into the suspected abuse of adults at risk. Adult safeguarding arrangements in the county are led by West Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board.

When we use the term ‘safeguarding adults’ we mean that we work together with adults at risk. This means supporting them to live as independently and safely as possible, in the way that they want, so that they are in control of their lives.

4 Further information

You can find out more about protecting a vulnerable adult on our West Sussex Connect to Support website:

Reporting abuse or neglect (West Sussex Connect to Support) (external link)

Or, view the documents below.

5 Information for professionals

You can check the Safeguarding thresholds on the West Sussex Safeguarding Adults Board - Policy and protocols web pages.

If you are not sure what action to take you should discuss this with your manager or your organisation's adult safeguarding lead.

If you are still unsure, you should check with a social care practitioner in our adult safeguarding hub on 033 022 28400 (professionals only).

Last updated:
1 July 2024
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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.