The Definition of ‘Vulnerable Adults’ and the Services They Receive

It’s important to know that being able to live safely, free from fear and abuse is a right. Many people, especially vulnerable adults, refuse to tell people they are being abused because they are scared to make a fuss or they don’t have enough money to fight for their right.


The Department of Health defines a vulnerable adult as a person who is aged 18 or over that is or may need community care services because of a disability (mental or other), age or illness and is someone who could be unable to look after themselves, or protect themselves from harm or exploitation.

It’s important to ask for help as soon as you notice the signs of maltreatment, which includes:

  • Physical – being hit, slapped, pushed or restrained that results in burns, cuts, black eyes and internal injuries
  • Verbal – being humiliated, isolated, controlled and harassed is a kind of abuse that affects the emotional health of a vulnerable adult
  • Sexual – sexual abuse includes indecent exposure, sexual harassment and rape
  • Financial – stealing money from a vulnerable adult or using their money inappropriately
  • Self Abuse – not providing them with enough food and the right medicines, not helping them wash and change their clothes


  • Someone who is diagnosed to be mentally and/or physically ill
  • Someone who has mental health needs such as dementia or down syndrome
  • Someone who is unable to report abuse and make a decision for him/herself
  • Someone who is old and frail due to physical disability


Vulnerable Adults have a high risk of maltreatment. Many of them are reluctant to report and sometimes, they even deny that harm they experienced. That said, it’s important for family members, friends, neighbours, caregivers and physicians to protect them against people who try to abuse them.

A Care Act for vulnerable adults was implemented in 2014. It is a legal framework for local authorities to safeguarding duties for vulnerable adults such as:

  • Protection
  • Empowerment
  • Accountability
  • Prevention
  • Proportionality
  • Partnerships

They perform these duties by working with the police, NHS and other organisations to provide awareness to the public as well.

A quality DBS check is provided by Care Check to make sure that people who want
to work within a regulated environment with vulnerable adults have clear criminal records to permit an applicant to work with them. To know more about our services, don’t hesitate to contact us through 0333 777 8575 or