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What is abuse and neglect?

This section provides information from the Department of Health Care and Support Statutory guidance (March 2016) about the different types and patterns of abuse and neglect and the different circumstances in which they may take place. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list but an illustrative guide as to the sort of behaviour which could give rise to a safeguarding concern.

Physical abuse includes:

  • Assault
  • Hitting
  • Slapping
  • Pushing
  • Misuse of medication Restraint
  • Restraint and inappropriate physical sanctions

Domestic Violence includes:

  • Psychological
  • Physical
  • Sexual
  • Financial
  • Emotional abuse
  • So called “honour” based violence

Sexual Abuse includes:

  • Indecent exposure
  • Sexual harassment
  • Inappropriate looking or touching
  • Sexual teasing or innuendo
  • Sexual photography
  • Subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting

Psychological abuse includes:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Threats of harm or abandonment
  • Deprivation of contact
  • Humiliation
  • Blaming
  • Intimidation
  • Coercion
  • Harassment
  • Verbal abuse
  • Cyber bullying
  • Isolation
  • Unreasonable & unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive network

Financial or material abuse includes:

  • Theft
  • Fraud
  • Internet scamming
  • Coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions
  • The misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits

Modern slavery:

  • Slavery
  • Human trafficking
  • Forced labour and domestic servitude
  • Traffickers and slave masters using whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment

Discriminatory abuse includes:

  • Harassment
  • Slurs or similar treatment
  • Because of race
  • Gender and gender identity
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion

Organisational abuse includes:

  • Organisational abuse includes neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.

Neglect and acts of omission:

  • Ignoring medical
  • Emotional or physical care needs
  • Failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services
  • The withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating

Self-neglect includes:

  • This covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.