What is abuse?

Harm and exploitation might consist of:

  • Physical abuse such as hitting, pushing, pinching,
    shaking, misusing medication, scalding, restraining, hairpulling
  • Sexual abuse such as rape, sexual assault or sexual acts
    to which a vulnerable adult could not have consented, or
    where they were pressurised into consenting
  • Psychological or emotional abuse such as threats of
    harm or abandonment, being deprived of social contact,
    humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion,
    harassment, verbal abuse, or being prevented from
    receiving services or support
  • Financial or material abuse such as theft, fraud or
    exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property, or
    inheritance, misuse of property, possessions or benefits
  • Neglect such as ignoring medical or physical care needs,
    preventing access to services or withholding food, drink
    or heating
  • Discriminatory abuse – harassment or slurs based on a
    person’s race, sexuality or disability
  • Institutional abuse – abuse in residential homes, nursing
    homes or hospitals when people are mistreated because
    of poor or inadequate care, neglect or poor working

Any of these forms of abuse can be deliberate or the result of ignorance. Often, if a person is being abused in one way, they are also being abused in other ways. Click here for advice on reporting a concern

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