Back to The duty to report an adult at risk of abuse and/or neglect

Gathering Information to Make a Report

Anyone, including the public, may report actual, alleged or suspected abuse or neglect directly to social services by phone, e-mail or in writing.

All safeguarding reports must be made by practitioners to social services and police when it is suspected that a crime has been committed as soon as possible, and within 24 hours of a concern being identified.

Where a report is made by telephone to the local authority, the person making the report should confirm the report in writing within 24 hours.

Practitioners should use the referral forms provided by the local authority.

Where there are no immediate safety issues, a report to social services should include the information available about the adult at risk and their circumstances, taking into account the role of the individual and their agency.

Information to include in a report (referral)

Whilst it is important to provide the information in Table 2.1 below, if immediate action is required to protect the adult at risk, this should take precedence over gathering information.

The information required should be proportionate and include:

Basic Information

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Cause for Concern

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Information Held

Whilst Table 2.1 provides details of the information that should be gathered it is recognised that not all practitioners will have this detail. Lack of detail should not prevent reporting a safeguarding concern.


Remember a failure to share information can place an adult at risk of abuse and neglect and is a common feature of adult practice reviews. Whilst information in isolation may seem insignificant, put together with information from other sources it may become significant to safeguarding the adult at risk.

Pointers for Practice: Making A Report

Pointers for Practice: The Identification, Assessment, Planning, Intervention and Review Process Applied to Making a Report