What is abuse?

An adult may be at risk of abuse if they are being harmed in any way by another person. This may include being physically, financially or emotionally harmed.

Who are adults at-risk?

Adults at-risk are people who need more help than others to stay safe, including:

  • People with disabilities
  • Older people
  • People with mental health problems
  • People who are ill for a long time
  • People who are misusing drugs or alcohol

People who may abuse adults who are at-risk

  • Friends and family
  • Neighbours
  • Professionals and volunteers
  • Strangers who ‘groom’ vulnerable adults for abuse

Types of abuse

  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse – when people take money or belongings without asking
  • Neglect – when people who are there to help do not look after people properly
  • Discriminatory abuse – when people treat others badly or unfairly because they are different
  • Institutional abuse – when paid staff in a hospital or care home do not care properly or respect people’s rights
  • Domestic abuse – threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are, or have been, in a relationship, or between family members
  • Self-neglect – when people don’t look after themselves and this puts them at risk
  • Modern slavery – when people are forced to work or are bought or sold as if they were a piece of property

Signs of abuse

For example, when the person:

  • Looks dirty or is not dressed properly
  • Has an injury that is difficult to explain
  • Seems frightened around certain people
  • Seems unusually down or withdrawn
  • Finds money missing

Even if you’re not sure whether these signs mean abuse, you should still report them to us.

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