Types of abuse

Sometimes people have to rely on others to help them in their day-to-day living. This might be due to disability, illness or frailty.

As a result, adults can become vulnerable and at risk. This can even be from the people they know, such as a relative, friend, neighbour or paid carer.

Abuse is very distressing and can take many forms:

  • Physical abuse - hitting, slapping, pushing, physically restraining, or the mismanagement of medication
  • Psychological abuse - shouting, swearing, humiliation, intimidation, confinement or isolation, which may make a person afraid and diminish their sense of identity, dignity and self-worth
  • Sexual abuse - unwanted touching, kissing or sexual intercourse
  • Financial and material abuse - money or belongings taken under pressure or stolen
  • Neglect and acts of omission - not being properly cared for, mismanaging medication or being denied privacy, choice or social contact
  • Domestic abuse - an incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members
  • Modern day slavery - this covers bonded slavery, child slavery, early and forced marriage, forced labour and trafficking
  • Self-neglect - failure of an adult to take care of himself or herself that causes, or is reasonably likely to cause within a short period of time, serious physical, mental or emotional harm or substantial damage to or loss of assets
  • Organisation abuse - this can be as a result of neglect, poor care practice within an organisation or a specific care setting such as a hospital or care home and/or poor practice in relation to care provided in a person’s own home - see our factsheet.
  • Hate crime - these are any crimes that are targeted at a person because of hostility or prejudice towards that person’s disability, race or ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender identity
  • Organisational Abuse Factsheet

Abuse can take place in a person's own home, in a residential or nursing home or a day centre or hospital. Unfortunately, those being abused are often the least likely to bring the situation to anyone's attention.