Safeguarding information

What to do if you have concerns over the safety of a child or vulnerable adult.

Reporting a concern

Safeguarding boards are made up of local authorities and partner organisations, such as police, to oversee and coordinate local safeguarding work. This includes local safeguarding arrangements, act to help and protect children and vulnerable adults.

Find out more about your local safeguarding board, including how to report concerns:

If you have an immediate concern

If you have immediate concerns that an adult with care and support needs or a child is being abused or neglected, call the Police on 999. If it isn’t an emergency but you need help fast, call the Police on 101.

Safeguarding adults 

Everyone has a responsibility to report abuse or suspected abuse for adults at risk and to adopt and implement the legislation set out in the Care Act (2014).

An adult at risk is a person aged 18 years or over “who has needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting those needs) and is experiencing, or at risk of, abuse or neglect and as a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of abuse or neglect.” (Care Act 2014).

Abuse may be one or a combination of different types of abuse e.g. physical, verbal, psychological, neglect, self-neglect etc.

Mate crime

There is no statutory definition of mate crime in UK law. The term is generally understood to refer to the befriending of people, who are perceived by perpetrators to be vulnerable, for the purposes of taking advantage of, exploiting and/or abusing them. This can strongly be associated, but not exclusively associated, with people with a learning disability, learning difficulties or mental health conditions.

Mate crime involves additional and complex issues to understand which sometimes resonate with cases of domestic abuse. The perpetrator is likely to be perceived as a close friend, a carer or a family member and will use this relationship for exploitation.

If you are concerned that you or someone you know may be the victim of Mate Crime, contact the police on 101. 

You can download information leaflets about Mate Crime on the Bristol Safeguarding website. 

Sexual violence  

Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support (SARSAS) provide support to people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, who have experienced rape or any kind of sexual assault or abuse at any time in their lives.

Modern slavery 

Modern slavery covers a wide range of abuse and exploitation which includes:

  • sexual exploitation
  • domestic servitude
  • labour exploitation
  • criminal exploitation
  • slavery
  • forced labour
  • organ trafficking

Victims of modern slavery can be any age, gender, nationality or ethnicity. Signs that somebody could be a victim of modern slavery include:

  • behaviour – withdrawn, scared, not willing to talk, doesn’t speak English
  • appearance – unkempt, malnourished, few possessions, health concerns
  • work – inappropriate clothing for job, long hours, little or no pay
  • fear of authorities – doesn’t want to speak to police or other authorities
  • debt bondage – in debt to, or dependant on someone else
  • accommodation – overcrowded, poorly maintained, blacked-out windows
  • lack of control – no ID, no access to bank account, work transport provided
  • lack of freedom – unable to move freely, unwilling or scared to leave

If you think someone may be a victim of modern slavery, call the 24-hour modern slavery helpline.

You can contact the Modern Slavery helpline on 08000 121 700

Domestic abuse

If you feel scared of your partner, it is likely that you are experiencing domestic violence and abuse. 1 in 4 women will experience it in their lives and men can be victims too.  Domestic violence and abuse is the misuse of emotional, physical, financial or sexual control by one person over another.  The abuser may be a family member or someone you are in or have been in a relationship with. Anyone can be a victim of abuse regardless of age, race, income, religion, belief, sex, disability, culture or sexual orientation.

Controlling behaviour is a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain. It may involve depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour. Coercive behaviour is an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.

Support is available for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and their children:


Prevent is about safeguarding people and communities from the threat of terrorism. It brings together people from all agencies and members of the community to offer support to an individual or family who is at risk of radicalisation.

The CCG has a responsibility under the PREVENT agenda to help stop the radicalisation of vulnerable people that use our services as part of the Government’s counter-terrorism policy.

If you have concerns regarding someone who is at risk of being radicalised please call the non-urgent police number 101 or for immediate concerns for the safety of the public due to a potential terrorist act then please call 999.