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What To Do About Abuse

What should you do if someone tells you that they are being abused?


Stay calm and listen to them
Take what you are being told seriously
Reassure them that they have done the right thing by telling you
Be aware that medical or other evidence might be needed
Make a written note of what you have been told
Contact Social Services or the police

Do Not

Press the person for more details (these can be taken later)
Assume that someone else is aware of the situation and will take action
Contact the alleged abuser
Promise to keep it a secret
Be afraid to contact Social Services or the police to discuss it

What To Do Next

  1. Ensure the safety of the adult and any other person at risk
  2. Determine the view of the adult about what you propose to do
  3. Inform the person that any further investigation will be carried out sensitively and that information will only be shared with people that need to know

Police Involvement

The police must be involved when there is:

  • An allegation made by an adult to another person of sexual abuse or there is a suspicion that sexual abuse has occurred
  • Alleged or suspected case(s) of physical injury. This includes violence to the adult constituting assault, actual or grievous bodily harm
  • An alleged or suspected case of cruelty. The offences include those whereby an adult is ill-treated or neglected
  • Allegations or suspicions which involve unusual circumstances, e.g. organised or institutional abuse
  • An alleged or suspected case of financial abuse
  • Any circumstance where a criminal offence is suspected

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Modified: 2009-11-25
Published: Mon, 26 Jan 2015 12:00:24
Author: Allison Helyer
Editor: Allison.Helyer
RDCMS ID: 6530