Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults

What you should do when you have concerns or suspicions about the welfare of a vulnerable adult.

Download the Church of England Promoting a Safe Church' Policy.

An adult who is vulnerable is defined as “any adult aged 18 or over who, by reason of mental or other disability, age, illness or other situation is permanently or for the time being unable to take care of him or herself, or to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation”

Some of the factors that increase vulnerability include:

  • a sensory or physical disability or impairment;
  • a learning disability;
  • a physical illness;
  • mental ill health (including dementia), chronic or acute;
  • an addiction to alcohol or drugs;
  • the failing faculties in old age;
  • a permanent or temporary reduction in physical, mental or emotional capacity brought about by life events, for example bereavement or previous abuse or trauma.

Further information is available in the Types of Abuse Factsheet.

Abuse in adults can be physical, emotional, sexual, financial, neglect or self-neglect, spiritual or modern slavery

The Church of England is committed to encouraging an environment where all people and especially those who may be vulnerable for any reason are able to worship and pursue their faith journey with encouragement and in safety. Everyone, whether they see themselves as vulnerable or not, will receive respectful pastoral ministry recognizing any power imbalance within such a relationship

Reporting mistreatment 

Any allegations of mistreatment, abuse, harassment or bullying must be responded to without delay. If you think that someone is at immediate risk of serious harm you must contact the police on 999

Most situations will not require such immediate action. Where there are suspicions of abuse but where no allegation of abuse has been made, you should share your concerns with, and seek guidance from, the incumbent, and/or the Parish Safeguarding Officer.

If you have safeguarding concerns about the welfare of a child, young person or an adult, please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisers for advice and support via

If possible, please complete this referral form and attach it to your email – the team will contact you at the earliest opportunity.

Whether or not the matter involves the church there will be cooperation with the police and local authority in any investigation. Sensitive and informed pastoral care will be offered to anyone who has suffered abuse, including support to make a complaint if so desired: help to find appropriate specialist care either from the church or secular agencies will be offered.

Contact details of Social Services and Police within the Diocese

  • Non-Urgent Police Enquiries - 101 (you will be put through to the appropriate force eg West Mercia or West Midlands)

Adults (and Children’s) Social Care

  • Worcestershire - 01905 768 053 (out of hours 01905 768020)
  • Dudley Area which includes Halesowen, Stourbridge and Brierley Hill – 0300 555 0055 (out of hours 0300 555 8574)
  • Sandwell Adults Social Care – 0121 539 2266 (out of hours (0121 569 2355)
Page last updated: Tuesday 1st February 2022 2:59 PM
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