Adult Safeguarding - Raising a Concern and the Decision Making Tool (DMT)

 MK Together has developed a Decision Making Tool to make it clearer and easier for people to understand what a safeguarding concern is and what to do with a concern.

Physical Abuse

The act of causing physical harm to someone else.


  • Error by staff causing no/little harm, e.g. skin friction mark due to ill-fitting hoist sling
  • Unexplained very light marking/bruising found on one occasion
  • Minor events that still meet criteria for incident reporting
  • Manual handling equipment not maintained appropriately
  • Isolated incident by another adult (e.g. an adult using the service strikes another but it leaves no mark and does not cause emotional distress) causing no/little harm where:
    • Action is being taken to minimise further risk
    • Other relevant professionals have been notified
    • There has been full discussion with the adult, their family or representative
    • There are no other indicators of abuse or neglect


  • Unexplained minor marking or lesions, minor cuts or grip marks on a number of occasions or on a number of people cared for by a specific team/carer
  • Inappropriate restraint that causes marks to be left but no external medical treatment/consultation required
  • DoLS not considered or implemented and Mental Capacity Act (MCA) not followed
  • The adult is, or appears, fearful/distressed in the presence of the other person or is adapting their behaviour to pacify or avoid the other adult


  • Serious bodily harm/assault with weapon leading to irreversible damage or death
  • Intended harm towards an adult
  • Deliberately withholding of food, drinks or aids to independence
  • Deliberately force-feeding food or drinks
  • Unexplained fractures/serious injuries
  • Assault by another adult using the service requiring medical treatment
  • Mental Capacity Act (MCA) not considered or followed in regarding to restraint

Last Updated: 7 December 2021