Protecting vulnerable adults from abuse in Waltham Forest.

What to do if you suspect someone is being abused or someone is abusing you

In Waltham Forest, Social Services, Health and the Police have agreed a policy and set of procedures for responding to the abuse of vulnerable adults. Each agency has signed up to take any allegation of abuse seriously and respond promptly with appropriate action.

Who is a vulnerable adult?

Someone aged 18 years and over who may be unable to take care of or protect themselves because they have a physical or mental health problem, disability or are elderly.

What do we mean by abuse?

Abuse is a violation of a person's right by anyone else. There are many kinds of abuse and they are listed below:

  • Physical: including hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate sanctions.
  • Sexual: including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the vulnerable adult has not consented, could not consent, or was pressured into consenting.
  • Psychological: including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, harassment, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or withdrawal from services or supportive networks.
  • Financial or material: including theft, fraud, exploitation, pressure in connection with Wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
  • Neglect or acts of omission: including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
  • Discriminatory: including racist, sexist behaviour and harassment based on a person's ethnicity, race, culture, sexual orientation, age or disability, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.

Who may abuse?

Anyone might! For example, relatives and family members, professional staff, paid care workers, volunteers, other service users, neighbours, friends and associates and strangers.

What should you do if you are worried?

If you are the victim of abuse, or you know someone who you think is being or has been abused, then it is really important to seek help.

Contact your nearest Social Services office, Health team or the Police. Tell them you are worried about possible adult abuse. You will be put in touch with the most appropriate person to talk to.

What happens after your contact?

The Social Care or Health Care staff will find out as much as possible about what has happened. An investigation will be carried out and a protection plan will be put in place. Arrangements will also be made to safeguard the vulnerable adult from any future abuse.

Important contact numbers

Elder Abuse Helpline

Phone: 0808 808 8141

Waltham Forest Adult Protection Unit

Phone: 020 8496 3497/3459

Social Services

Phone: 020 8496 3000

Learning Disability Team

Phone: 020 8521 0337

HIV Team

Phone: 020 8496 3000

Waltham Forest Primary Care Trust

Phone: 020 8430 8000

Whipps Cross Hospital Trust

Phone: 020 8539 5522

Mental Health North (for under 65s)

Phone: 0844 600 1239

Mental Health (for over 65s)

Phone: 0844 600 1233 or 1270

Mental Health South (for under 65s)

Phone: 0844 600 1268


Phone: 0300 123 1212

Equality & Human Rights Commission Helpline

Phone: 0845 604 6610