The adult's consent is not required for you to make a referral under the Act. If possible, inform the adult that their concerns will be reported to your line manager and the police where a potential crime has been committed and that these will be recorded. While the adult’s consent should usually be sought before the police are contacted, remember that adults at risk of harm are individuals in their own right and must be allowed to exercise their right to choose the way they live their life, unless:

  • The adult is at immediate risk of significant harm.
  • The adult does not have capacity to understand his/her choice or consequences.
  • There is concern the person is being unduly pressured to withhold their consent.
  • The situation involves a service provider and other adults may also be at risk of harm.
  • There is a public safety concern and it is in the public interest to override consent because of the seriousness of the incident or allegation and/or risk to other people.
  • Any member of staff from any agency witnessed a crime being committed.

Voluntary and private sector agencies are usually required to report actual or suspected harm of an adult at risk under their contractual agreement. When making a referral to the Police or Social Services they should be advised if the adult has consented to the referral or not.