Recognising abuse

Types of Adult Abuse

Abuse is when someone does or says something to make someone else feel upset, scared or frightened. This is never acceptable and abuse is never the recipients fault. It can take place anywhere and comes in many forms. Types of abuse include:

  • Disability hate crime – abuse that is motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability. 
  • Discriminatory abuse – including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
  • Domestic violence – including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse and ‘honour based violence’.
  • Financial or material abuse – including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion relating to financial affairs or arrangements (such as wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions), or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.
  • Modern slavery – including human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.
  • Neglect and acts of omission – including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, and the withholding of medication, adequate nutrition, heating and other necessities.
  • Organisational abuse – including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or care setting, including 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.
  • Physical abuse – including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.
  • Psychological abuse – including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying or unjustified withdrawal of services and supportive networks.
  • Self-neglect – including hoarding and neglecting to care personal hygiene, health or surroundings.
  • Sexual abuse – including rape, sexual assault, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, or sexual acts without consent or with pressure to consent.

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing abuse it is important that you don’t keep silent. The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) has representatives from adult social care, the police, hospital trusts, nursing, mental health services and housing.

If it is an emergency, always call 999.