Safeguarding: the definition of abuse and neglect
Abuse happens when a person who is unable to protect themselves is ill treated or neglected. It may be a one-off incident, or may happen repeatedly over time.
Anyone can harm an adult who is not able to protect themselves. This could include a:
- neighbour, or
- care worker.
The abuse may take place anywhere, in a public or private place.
Behaviours that count as abuse or neglect
Including hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.
Including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.
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.
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, such as connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse 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 of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
Including discrimination on grounds of race, gender and gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.
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 to continuing ill-treatment.