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Advice for Adults

business unitThis information is for anyone over the age of 18, or their family/carer, who cannot always protect themselves from harm and may need the support of care services because of mental illness, physical impairment or learning disability, age, illness, or personal circumstances.

What is safeguarding?

Safeguarding means protecting your right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect. It is also about people and organisations working together to prevent harm. As a result the Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Board aims to work with local people and other organisations so that adults with care and support needs are safe and able to protect themselves.

There are six basic rules that should be followed:

  1. You are asked what you want to happen and services plan safeguarding round this.
  2. You will get clear and simple information about what abuse is and who to ask for help.
  3. Services think about what is best for you and only get involved when they need to.
  4. You can get help and support to tell people about abuse and can get involved in the safeguarding as much or as little as you want.
  5. Staff look after your personal information and only share it when this helps to keep you safe.
  6. You know what all the different people should do to keep you safe.

There are different ways in which people can be harmed or abused. You can read about different types of abuse, how to tell someone about abuse and what happens when you do in our easy read books.  You can read these alone or with someone to support you.

Book 1: Keeping safe from abuse: What is Abuse?

Book 2: Keeping safe from abuse: Speaking up about Abuse

Book 3: Keeping safe from abuse: Reporting Abuse

If you are worried about something that is happening to you, or to someone you know, there are people who will work with you to make sure that you, or they, are safe. You will be treated with respect, and they will listen to you. Our leaflet 'Supporting People to be Safe in Bracknell Forest' provides examples of when Safeguarding Adults can help.

In an emergency call 999 or call Adult Social Care on 01344 351500

What does care and support mean?

Care and support is the term used to describe the help some adults need in order that they can live in the best way they can, despite any illness or disability they might have. The list below contains some of the main things people might need help with:

  • Getting out of bed
  • Washing and dressing
  • Getting to work
  • Cooking or eating meals
  • Seeing friends or being given a lift to a social event
  • Emotional support at a time of difficulty or stress
  • Caring for families
  • Being part of the community

The definition of care and support also includes the help given by family and friends, as well as any help provided by Bracknell Forest Council or other support organisations such as Healthwatch.

What is abuse?

Abuse is when a person is treated in a bad way or in a way that harms, hurts, exploits them or makes them feel frightened or unhappy. Abuse is not always deliberate. It sometimes happens when people are trying to do their best but feel stressed. Or they don't know what to do because of a lack of knowledge, training or understanding. Abuse can take many forms such as:

Physical abuse – where you are hit, kicked, pushed or suffer any kind of physical harm. It is not OK for anyone to hurt you.

Sexual abuse – where someone touches your body without you saying that it is OK, or where someone makes you take part in, or watch sexual acts that you don’t want to, or make you feel uncomfortable. It is not OK for anyone to touch your body unless you say they can, or to make you look at or do something you don’t want to.

Financial abuse – where someone takes your money, property or other things that belong to you, or makes you sign for things like loans that you don’t want or don’t understand. It is not OK for anyone to take your money, or your property, or to get you to agree to anything about money that you don’t understand.

Emotional abuse – where someone shouts at you, says nasty things about you, threatens you or makes you feel scared. It is not OK for anyone to bully you.

Neglect – where someone who should look after you doesn’t do what they should and leaves you without the care and support you need. The person who should look after you might be a friend or family member or a paid carer. It is not OK for anyone who should look after you to leave you cold, hungry, wet, soiled or without your tablets.

If you are worried about something that is happening to you, or to someone you know, services will work with you to make sure that you, or they, are safe. You will be treated with respect and listened to.

In an emergency call 999 or call Adult Social Care on 01344 351500

Further information on on abuse types can be found here. LINK

Where does abuse happen?

Harm or abuse can happen anywhere, at any time and could be by someone you know or a stranger. Examples of places in which it can happen include:

  • At home
  • At a day centre
  • In a hospital
  • At work
  • At school/college
  • At a club
  • In the street

If you are worried about yourself, or someone else, don’t stay silent, speak to someone you trust.

Who can help me?

If harm or abuse is happening to you, you need to tell someone that you trust as soon as you can. People who are there to help you may include your family, staff who support you, the police, a social worker, a doctor, a friend or a nurse.

If you are worried about yourself, or someone else, don’t stay silent, speak to someone you trust.

What will happen next?

If you speak to someone you trust because you think you are being abused or you know someone who you suspect is being or is at risk of being abused:

  • You will be listened to, and your concerns will be taken seriously.
  • Your concerns will be looked into fully and fairly.
  • You will be involved in decision making and trained staff will work with you to stop the abuse and agree with you steps to protect you from further harm.
  • You will get advice about the help and support available.

To help the services respond to your concerns it is important for them to know what you, or the person experiencing the abuse, wants to happen next. They will want to understand what is important to you, what you wish to achieve and how they can help to keep you safe. To help you there may need to share information with other people who can work with you to improve your safety and well-being.

Further information and support

The following organisations can give more information and support:

  • Age UK free, confidential telephone service for older people, as well as their families, friends, carers and professionals.
  • Berkshire Women’s Aid- provides support to both male and female victims of domestic abuse (phone: 0118 950 4003)
  • Mind – can provide support if you are living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is.
  • Public Concern at Work- free confidential advice for people who have witnessed wrongdoing at their work and need advice about whistle blowing (phone: 020 3117 2520)
  • Victims First– provide free support to any victim of any crime in Berkshire, regardless of whether the crime has been reported to the police or not (phone: 0300 1234 148)

What is Making Safeguarding Personal (MSP)?

Making Safeguarding Personal is a way of making sure that you are included in the safeguarding enquiry (looking into your concerns) and help you stay safe.

You will be spoken to about the best way of making sure you are safe and how to make your quality of life better.

You will be asked if anything has changed and check if your goals have been met or whether you have any new goals. The goals you set may be called ‘a safeguarding enquiry outcome’.

When you are spoken to, they will:

  • Help you make choices about the way you want to live and speak about how you feel so they can help you to feel safe.
  • Listen carefully to what you say and work out what action needs to be taken.
  • Help you to speak out and say your views so that you have choices and control about the actions will help to stay safe.

Mental Capacity

The Mental Capacity Act empowers and protects people who are not able to make their own decisions. This covers decisions about property and financial affairs, health, welfare and where they live.

It sets out who can make decisions, when and how. It applies to anyone aged 16 or over and sets out a framework for assessing whether a person lacks the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves. The legal definition says that someone who lacks capacity cannot do one or more of the following four things:

  • Understand information given to them.
  • Retain that information long enough to be able to make a decision.
  • Weigh up the information available to make a decision.
  • Communicate their decision. This could be by any possible means, such as talking, using sign language or even simple muscle movements such as blinking an eye or squeezing a hand.

This might be because of brain injury; a stroke; dementia; mental health problems; alcohol or drug misuse; side effects of medical treatment; or other illness or disability.

The following video has been produced by Dorset County Council and explains what the Act says and when a person may not be able to make certain decisions for themselves:

An independent advocate can help support you in situations where decisions are made for you. They can help to make sure that:

  • Your views are heard.
  • The safeguarding process is followed.
  • You are as involved as possible.

If you are already, or will be, supporting someone with mental capacity issues as an unpaid advocate, you can also ask for the support of an advocate. You may find this helps you to provide better support.

Choose care, help and support safely

The Bracknell Forest Safeguarding Board wants all adults to be safe and secure. As an individual, carer or family member, it’s important that when choosing care or help and support for yourself or loved ones, you choose carefully. 

Our new leaflet outlines what you should expect, and how to identify safe, good quality services and support when choosing personal assistants, care homes, sitting services, care homes, cleaners and community groups. 

If you have any concerns about your own safety or the safety of an adult, you should call the Bracknell Forest Council Safeguarding Team on 01344 351500. 

What to expect from good care

Support at home:  Where to find information and help

Independent Age logo

Independent Age has information and guides covering:

  • How to stay safe at home
  • Loneliness
  • Help at Home
  • Paying for your care/ care costs
advice and information for those who arrange their own care

 Care Quality Commission logo

The Care Quality Commission has information on:

  • Good care from a home care agency
  • What good home care should look like
Care Quality Commission leaflet

which logo 

Which? has factsheets and advice on:

  • Questions to ask when people are helping you in your own home
  • Employing someone
Organising home care

Care homes:  Where to find support and information

 Independent Age logo

Independent Age has information and guides covering:

  • Types of housing
  • Care Homes
How to find the right care home

Care Quality Commission logo

The Care Quality Commission has information on:

  • What to expect from a good care home
  • Care home guides
Good home care

which logo

Which? has factsheets and advice on:

  • What a care home should be like
  • How to find care homes near you
Residentail Care homes

The booklets, leaflets and information are all available from the featured organisations’ websites. Please see the boxes on the right for the specific website links.

Alternatively Healthwatch Bracknell Forest can supply copies of the Independent Age booklets.

Contact: Healthwatch or call 0300 0120184 

There is also a leaflet to safely choose clubs, groups, help and support for children.

Worried about the care my relative is receiving

Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between what might be poor-quality care and what could be abuse and neglect.

Poor care

  • A one-off medication error (although this could, of course, have very serious consequences).
  • An incident of under-staffing, resulting in a person’s incontinence pad being unchanged all day.
  • Poor-quality, unappetising food.
  • One missed visit by a care worker from a home care agency.

 Potential causes for concern

  • A series of medication errors.
  • An increase in the number of visits to A&E, especially if the same injuries happen more than once.
  • Changes in the behaviour and demeanour of an adult with care and support needs.
  • Nutritionally inadequate food.
  • Signs of neglect such as clothes being dirty.
  • Repeated missed visits by a home care agency.
  • An increase in the number of complaints received about the service.
  • An increase in the use of agency or bank staff.
  • A pattern of missed GP or dental appointments.
  • An unusually high or unusually low number of safeguarding concerns.


In some cases the use of restraint or other forms of restrictive practice may be necessary and appropriate to keep an adult safe. Where restraint is used and the adult has capacity they must give informed consent.  This means that they have been informed about the nature, purpose and consequences of the act/care/treatment that will be the restraint on them and they have freely given their consent without coercion.  Where a person lacks capacity, the MCA can be applied to those over 16 and where there is an impairment/disturbance of the mind/brain; a best interest decision can then be taken about the restraint for the person. Any restraint must be carried out in the least restrictive way. Inappropriate or unlawful use of 'restraint' or restrictive practices could be regarded as either abuse or 'poor care'.

What can I do?

There are agencies you can contact if you have concerns, want advice or want to give feedback:

  • Contact Bracknell Forest Council Adult Social Care teams for advice on 01344 351500 or use their online form
  • tell CQC about a bad or good experience of care or a concern about a service.
  • Healthwatch: for feedback about health and social care services.

If emergency help is required when the office is closed, the Out of Hours Team can be contacted on 01344 351999

Financial Abuse

Also see our Scams and Fraud web page.

Financial abuse is the mistreatment of someone in terms of their money or assets, such as their property. Financial abuse often occurs alongside other forms of abuse such as domestic abuse and coercive control.

It can include money being stolen or misused, fraud or putting someone under pressure in regard to their money or property.

People often don’t recognise they’re a victim of economic abuse, so the first step to regaining control of your finances is to understand the signs and seek appropriate help. It tends to be a slow and steady escalation of types of behaviour, making it hard to recognise both for those within these relationships and for friends and families of victims.

Abusers also often know how to hide their abuse from others outside the relationship. They will often blame the victim, making them feel it is theirs and not their abuser’s behaviour that is unreasonable.

Some of the key indicators of financial abuse include:

  • unexplained money loss or a lack of money to pay for essentials such as rent.
  • credit cards being taken out or bills being put in the victim’s name.
  • asking the victim to account for exactly what they spend money on.
  • inability to access or check bank accounts or financial service provider accounts.
  • isolation from friends and family.
  • being prevented from working, going to work, or going to college or university.
  • being asked to change a will.

Reporting financial abuse is not easy. If you or your children are in immediate danger, you need to call the police on 999. You can also find details to report abuse here.

You can also turn to a number of charities for free help and advice relating to both the abuse and your finances. These include:

Banks also have a duty of care to support you and treat you fairly if you report domestic abuse to them. Some offer specialist teams for the care of vulnerable customers, and you can ask to talk to them.