People can be vulnerable for lots of different reasons. They may:
♦ be elderly or have dementia
♦ have a learning, physical or sensory difficulty
♦ have a mental health problem
♦ be ill and needing help temporarily
This could make them vulnerable to abuse.
Abuse can take place in any setting and can be carried out by anyone. It happens to people in all sections of society. Abuse is everyone’s business - you could be a neighbour, friend, relative or passer-by of someone being abused. You may feel that there is a situation in your life with which you are not comfortable; this could be a form of abuse.
Types of abuse
So how would you know whether you are being abused or not? How can you spot if someone else is being abused? There are various forms of abuse, which for some people could seem like normal daily life. Here are some examples of different types of abuse:
Physical abuse – including hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions;
Sexual abuse – including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting;
Psychological abuse – including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks;
Exploitation – either opportunistically or premeditated, unfairly manipulating someone for profit or personal gain;
Financial or material abuse – including theft, fraud, exploitation, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property , inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse ormisappropriation of property, possessions or benefits;
Neglect and acts of omission – including ignoring medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding ofthe necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating;
Discriminatory abuse – including discrimination on grounds of race, gender and gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment;and
Institutional abuse – including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting like a hospital or care home, for example. This may range from isolated incidents tocontinuing ill-treatment.
(Care Act 2014 Guidance pp. 193/194)
What to do if you have concerns
If you are worried that abuse is happening to you or someone else,
If you or the person is in immediate danger you should call 999.
Concerns about an adult
Concerns about a child: 0845 460 0001
9am - 5.30pm Call the Careline on: 0800 137915
Outside office hours: 0800 9997677
Your local police station: 08458 505 505
Who to contact if you are a professional