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Devon Safeguarding Adults Board

Devon County Council is responsible for maintaining a statutory Safeguarding Adults Board for Devon. The Devon Safeguarding Adults Board (DSAB), aims to ensure that key agencies including Local Authorities, Police and Clinical Commissioning Groups within the NHS work together to protect adults at risk from abuse or neglect.

Which adults are at risk of abuse or neglect?

An adult at risk is someone over 18 years old who:

  • has care and support needs;
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect;
  • as a result of their care and support needs is unable to protect him or herself against the abuse or neglect, or the risk of it.

If an adult has care and support needs but is not receiving these from a health or care service, they may still be at risk. Safeguarding adults at risk depends on everyone understanding and doing the following things:

  • Being aware of the risks of abuse and neglect that adults at risk can face
  • Knowing what help is available
  • Understanding their responsibilities
  • Working together to report and investigate concerns
  • Working together to prevent abuse and neglect

The DSAB works collaboratively with partners and the community in order to support and enable people to understand their role within safeguarding.

How do I report an adult that may be at risk?

If you see, hear or suspect that an adult may be at risk of abuse or neglect, you must tell someone about it. If they are in immediate danger contact the police on 999. Otherwise contact Care Direct on 0345 155 1007 or email

Care Direct is open to take calls between 8.00am and 8.00pm Monday to Friday and from 9.00am to 1.00pm on Saturdays. Outside these hours and on Sundays and Bank Holidays, in emergency only, please contact the Emergency Duty Service on 0845 6000 388 (low-call rate).

To find out more...

Useful links

The DSAB website provides information for people who may experience, or be at risk of experiencing abuse, their families, carers and anyone who works with people with health or social care needs.

See also Devon and Cornwall Police - Adults with care & support needs.

See also

For information on alcohol and drug misuse see:

Types of abuse and neglect

The following descriptions of types of abuse and neglect can help decide whether someone is at risk:

Including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.

Including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour’ based violence.

Including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting

Including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable withdrawal of services or supportive networks.

Including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse of property, possessions or benefits.

Slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.

Including forms of harassment, mistreatment; because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

Including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.

Including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

This covers a wide range of behaviour including neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

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