Information for Adults
A vulnerable adult is anyone over the age of 18 who cannot always protect themselves from harm and may need care services because of mental illness, physical impairment or learning disability, age, illness, or personal circumstances. Describing someone as vulnerable should never be taken to mean that they lack capacity or cannot make their own decisions about their life; instead, the term simply means that they may be more likely to experience exploitation or abuse and may have greater difficulty addressing the situation if it does occur.
An abuser may be a family member, a partner or friend, a neighbour, a member of staff at a service, another vulnerable adult, a stranger, or a group of people, and abuse may take place at home, in someone else’s home, in a public place, in the street, or at a day centre, hospital, or college. Abuse and exploitation come in many forms, including: