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: assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint, inappropriate physical sanctions
Domestic violence including: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse, so called ‘honour’ based violence
Sexual abuse including: rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure, sexual assault, 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, cyber bullying, isolation, unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks
Financial or material abuse including: 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 encompasses: 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 including forms of: harassment, slurs or similar treatment because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation, religion
Organisational abuse including: 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.
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, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating
Self-neglect - This covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes hoarding.
(Care Act 2014, Care and Support statutory guidance, Department of Health, updated 24 March 2016)
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