Almost half of alleged abuse towards vulnerable adults takes place in their own homes, according to new research.

An NHS Information Centre report found that of 94,500 such incidents logged last year, 39,300 cases - or 42 per cent - were said to have taken place in the alleged victim’s home.

A further 35 per cent occurred in care homes, the report said.

The data comes from cases of abuse reported to English councils’ adult safeguarding teams between April 2010 and March 2011.

The victims are vulnerable adults who can be unable to take care of themselves or need social care because of mental or other disabilities.

A quarter of the alleged incidents were perpetrated by a family member, including the victim’s partner. Social workers were alleged to have carried out 29 per cent of the abuse.

More than one in 10 (13 per cent) of the alleged abusers were other vulnerable adults while 12 per cent were either a neighbour, friend, stranger, volunteer or other professional.

More than a third (36 per cent) of the incidents involved physical abuse. Neglect (28 per cent) and so-called financial abuse (24 per cent), including fraud and theft, were also commonly involved in the incidents.

Emotional or physical abuse accounted for 19 per cent of cases while 12 per cent involved sexual, discriminatory or institutional abuse.

Some of the cases involved more than one type of abuse.

By the end of the financial year, 32 per cent of the reports of abuse were substantiated, with 28 per cent not determined or inconclusive and 31 per cent not substantiated.

A further 9 per cent of reports were partially substantiated.

The findings are provisional and the final figures will be published in March next year.

Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: “Although this report is provisional, it shines a light on what is clearly an emotive subject involving some of the most vulnerable people in society.

“This information is vital for councils, social care and health professionals to consider their own figures and examine the reasons behind them.

“The collection also allows people to see how they relate to the national and regional picture.

“For all these reasons, it is vital that all councils submit and validate their data to what is now a mandatory return to ensure that the overall picture is full and accurate.”