Everyone is entitled to live their life in safety without being mistreated, hurt or exploited by others. But some people's situations may make them more vulnerable and less able to protect themselves from harm or mistreatment.

People are often more vulnerable as they get older, or because they have a mental health problem, a disability, a sensory impairment or some form of illness.

Mistreating someone who is vulnerable is known as 'abuse'. And failing to properly look after a vulnerable person in your care is known as 'neglect'.

Both abuse and neglect of vulnerable people are never acceptable.

These pages will tell you more about what abuse and neglect are, who is particularly vulnerable to abuse, and how to get help and advice if you or someone you know is vulnerable and being mistreated, abused or neglected.

It is important to remember that if you are being abused, it is not your fault. Hartlepool Borough Council  takes the abuse of vulnerable people very seriously - they will listen to your concerns and give you a prompt response.

If you think that you or someone you know is being subjected to abuse then please go to our page What to do if you think someone is at risk of being abused  - for advice and details on whom to contact.

The Easy Health website has gathered together various easy-read leaflets and videos which will help people with learning disabilities to understand what abuse is, and to know what to do if they think they're being subjected to abuse.