In this section:

If you think someone is in immediate danger

If you think someone is in immediate danger and you need to do something straight away to stop them being hurt, you should ring 999 and tell the operator what is happening.

Where someone is at risk of abuse or fraud but is in less immediate danger you can either call your local Police Force or report suspicions of abuse of a person whether or not they lack capacity to the relevant agency to ensure that it is investigated properly and that where necessary steps are taken to stop it happening. 

In all geographical areas the Local Authority Adult Services Department has a lead coordinating role in situations of suspected abuse of a vulnerable adult. This means that in every situation where you think that a vulnerable adult might be being abused or be at risk of abuse the Local Authority with responsibilities for the area where the vulnerable adult lives must be contacted.

If abuse of a child or young person is suspected, the Childrens Services Department of the Local Authroity must be contacted.

They will make enquiries and where necessary coordinate an investigation into the concerns. They will as part of that process contact a range of agencies/individuals depending upon the nature of the concerns. You may wish to contact any of those agencies in addition to the Adult Services or Childrens Services Department as they may be able to contribute. If you have:

  • Concerns about an Attorney or Deputy
    • If someone is concerned about the actions of an attorney acting under a registered Enduring Power of Attorney or Lasting Power of Attorney, or a Deputy appointed by the court of Protection, they should contact the Compliance and Regulation Unit of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG). There is a dedicated phone line for reporting concerns: 020 7664 7734. The OPG can investigate the actions of a Deputy or Attorney and can also refer concerns to other relevant agencies. When it makes a referral, the OPG will make sure that the relevant agency keeps it informed of the action it takes. The OPG can also make an application to the Court if it needs to take possible action against the attorney or deputy.
  • Concerns about an appointee
    • When someone is concerned about the collection or use of social security benefits by an appointee on behalf a person who lacks capacity, they should Contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Also visit the Link to an external site logo DirectGov website for information and guidance.
  • Concerns about a possible criminal offence
    • If there is a good reason to suspect that someone has committed a crime against a vulnerable person, such as theft or physical or sexual assault, contact the police
    • In addition, Adult Services or Childrens Services should also be contacted, so that they can support the vulnerable person during the investigation.
  • Concerns about care standards
  • Concerns about healthcare or treatment
    • If someone is concerned about the care or treatment given to the person in any NHS setting (such as an NHS hospital or clinic) contact the managers of the service.

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How the OPG and Local Authorities work together to help prevent abuse

Both the OPG and Local Authorities have powers, duties and responsibilities towards vulnerable adults who lack mental capacity. To help ensure that these vulnerable people receive the best protection possible the OPG have worked together with Local Authorities to set up a joined-up approach for responding to concerns about abuse.

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