Safety & support



Safeguarding* customers is paramount to Riverside as we believe that every person, adult or child, has the right to live without fear or abuse in their own homes and communities.

We aim to support those who are at risk of abuse and neglect, to do this we must look out for signs and indicators. We work in a person-centred way by promoting empowerment and managing risk appropriately.  This means treating customers with dignity and respect, seeking their views, supporting them to make choices and take decisions for themselves, so they can live as independently as possible.

*Safeguarding in Scotland is known as Adult and Child Protection.

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding means protecting children, young people and adults from abuse, risk of abuse, exploitation, neglect, or self-neglect. Everyone has the right to live a life free from abuse.

It’s important to remember:

  • everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect
  • abuse is always wrong and can happen anywhere and at any time
  • it can be caused by anyone; a partner, friend, neighbour, a carer, someone in a position of trust or a stranger.

You may be more at risk if you:

  • are older and frail
  • are dependent on alcohol and substances
  • have a learning disability, physical or sensory impairment
  • have mental health problems
  • have a language barrier.
  • Under the age of 18

What is abuse and neglect?

To abuse someone is to treat them badly.  To neglect someone is to fail to care for them.  An action or a failure to take action that causes someone harm.

It might be a single act or a repeated act over time, it could be intentional or accidental, the abuse may also be a crime.

Types of abuse

Abuse or neglect can be defined in many ways and may fall under multiple abuse types. Examples include:

  • Child abuse – there are many types of child abuse, including those listed below. The signs aren’t always obvious. A child may not be able to, or know how, to tell anyone what is happening. Some common warning signs include unexplained changes in behaviour, becoming withdrawn, poor attendance at school or nursery, inappropriately dressed for the weather and more. You may also notice changes in behaviour from the adults who have children in their care. A child exposed to domestic abuse is also now seen as a victim of domestic abuse. 
  • Discriminatory abuse – including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion. Can include hate crime.
    Warning signs: Suddenly wanting to move, being fearful of being in certain places or at certain times. Withdrawn, not wanting to go out, high volume of calls/ texts, anxiety. 
  • Domestic Abuse – abuse can come from a partner, ex-partner or family member regardless of gender or sexuality. Abuse can take many forms including physical, sexual, financial, and psychological. It involves an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence and abuse. Honour based violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriage falls under domestic abuse. A child who is exposed to domestic abuse is now seen as a victim of domestic abuse.
    Warning signs: Isolation – not seeing friends and family, stop replying to calls and texts. Physical signs such as bruising particular around wrists/neck, unexplained injuries – limping etc. Withdrawn, anxious, flinching, start/stop dressing a certain way, having to ask permission before agreeing to make a purchase/attend a social event. Change in behaviour. For more advice on domestic abuse, please visit the domestic abuse page.
  • Emotional/psychological abuse – including threats of harm or abandonment, isolation, intimidation, harassment, verbal abuse, blaming, controlling, bribes, online abuse. Not involving a person in decisions about themselves.
    Warning signs: Withdrawn, anxious, frightened – stop seeing friends and family, having access to things such as mobile phone.
  • Financial or material abuse – including stealing money or possessions, using someone else’s money to buy things for themselves or controlling how someone spends someone else’s money. Fraud – such as applying for benefits/credit in someone else’s name, internet/phone scamming.
    Warning signs: Direct Debits cancelled, bills not being paid, unable to buy food. 
  • Modern Slavery – includes human trafficking and domestic servitude. Physical and emotional abuse is used or threatened in order to make someone work. They are often controlled, owned and dehumanised by an ‘employer’, restrictions placed on their freedom of movement, sold as property.
    Warning signs: Wearing same clothes day in day out, inappropriate clothing for the weather, not having enough food, disappearing for long periods of time without explanation. Signs of physical and/or sexual abuse. Not having access to bank card, passport, withdrawn, anxious.
  • Neglect – not providing someone with appropriate care for example, food, drink, heating, medication, cleanliness, hygiene. Failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support and educational services.
    Warning signs: Decline in health and/or medical condition, weight loss, unclean clothes, stop attending school, day services etc.
  • Organisational abuse – includes neglect and poor practice from a service provider including care homes and hospitals. Ill treatment as a one-off incident or ongoing, lack of adequate policies and procedures, process or staffing levels.
    Warning signs: Residents being forced to get up at a certain time, not receiving medication on time, living in a room, property not fit for purpose.
  • Physical abuse – including assault, hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, shaking, burning, restraint, misuse of medication, force feeding and inappropriate physical actions.
    Warning signs: Physical injuries with no explanation, flinching/ jumping, withdrawn.
  • Self-Neglect – this covers a wide range of behaviour such as neglecting to care for one’s hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviours such as hoarding. Self-harming behaviours such as eating disorders can be a form of self-neglect.
    Warning signs: Appear to be in poor health, weight loss, become withdrawn, stop seeing friends and family, decline in personal hygiene, unclean or untidy room or property. Not accessing much needed medication and/or medical appointments.
  • Sexual abuse/ sexual exploitation – this includes rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking and touching, sexual teasing or suggestion, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, sexual assault, sexual acts to which the person has not agreed or was pressured into agreeing to or exploited in to for exchange for something.
    Warning signs: Change in behaviour, withdrawn or aggressive, change to personal appearance – suddenly not washing, wearing make-up, wearing baggy clothes or the opposite.

It’s important to remember not all signs mean abuse, there could be other things happening in someone’s life that affects their behaviour. There are lots of agencies you can all for advice. The important thing to remember is if you suspect something, talk to someone or report it.

How to report it

If you think you or someone you know is being abused, exploited, or neglected, please tell someone. Don’t hesitate. By reporting it you may prevent it from happening.

If you’re worried that a child or young person is at risk or is being abused please contact your local council’s:

You can report abuse or suspected abuse to:

  • the police
  • the safeguarding team at your local authority
  • health and social care professionals, for example, social worker, nurse or doctor
  • your housing officer, support worker/ scheme manager or by calling our Customer Service Centre on 0345 111 0000 or for customers in Scotland please call 0345 112 6600.
  • the NSPCC if your concern is relating to a child

Call 999 if either you, or you believe someone else, is in immediate danger. Unable to talk? Tap the phone, cough etc so the call handler knows you are there. You will be put through to a Silent Solution system with the police and asked to dial 55. This will let the police know that you need assistance, you are unable to talk and that you are not a hoax caller.

How we can support you

If you report abuse to us, we will:

  • listen to you and take your concerns seriously.
  • treat all information confidentially. Information will only be shared which is necessary to prevent harm and will be in line with the law.
  • ask you about what you would like to see happen and keep you informed of any of actions we are going to take and respect your wishes.
  • in some circumstances, or where other adults and children are at risk, we have a duty of care to protect them and must act.

Keeping safe online

When we think of keeping safe online we think of children and young people and adults with learning disabilities.  With our growing use and dependence on technology this is truer than ever before. However other groups of people may be affected by being online – such as scams and online dating. Find out what digital safeguarding is and how to keep yourself safe online here.

Useful contacts

There are many support services available, these are just a few:

Agency Support Contact
Police If you or someone else is in immediate danger, then please call 999. If your concern does not involve immediate danger, then please call 101.

999 – for immediate danger or crime


Social Services They can offer advice if there is a safeguarding concern or if someone needs a Care Assessment. Details available from your local council.
Riverside We will listen to your concerns, record them and be able to offer advice, support services and discuss possible next steps.

Talk to your housing officer or the site support team.

Call our Customer Service Centre on 0345 111 0000

Customers in Scotland please call 0345 112 6600

Hourglass services Information and support to an older person or anyone concerned about an older person who is at risk of, experiencing or recovering from any form of abuse or neglect.

0808 808 8141

Refuge If you are experiencing domestic abuse. 0808 2000 247
Scottish Women’s Aid If you’re experiencing domestic abuse in Scotland. 0800 027 1234
Abused Men in Scotland If you’re experiencing domestic abuse in Scotland. 03300 949 395
Man Kind If you are experiencing domestic abuse.

01823 334 244

Respect If you’re experiencing domestic abuse.

0808 801 0327

Modern Slavery To get help, report a suspicion or to seek advice. 08000 121 700
Rape Crisis Support if you have been a victim of sexual violence they have live chat and information on centres locally to you. England:
0808 802 9999
08088 01 03 02
Victim support Can help people who have been victims of crime and traumatic incidents. England:
08 08 16 89 111
0800 160 1985
Samaritans If you are or have been a victim of abuse and you need someone to talk to. 116 123

If you are worried about a child.

Find out about call charges.

0808 800 5000
Childline (under 18s) Calls will not show on your bill if you call from a landline or most mobile networks. 0800 1111