Abuse & Neglect
What is abuse and neglect?
What is Abuse? Where Can I Get Help? – Safeguarding Easy Read Leaflet
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; for example, a partner, relative, friend, neighbour, care worker, and the abuse may take place anywhere, in a public or private place.
Examples of people who might be at risk of abuse or neglect include:
- someone who is frail, due to ageing
- someone with a serious health condition
- someone with a physical disability
- someone with a visual impairment
- someone with a hearing impairment
- someone with a learning disability
- someone with a mental health difficulty
- someone who has memory problems or dementia
- victims of domestic violence
- someone who is addicted to drugs or other substances
- a carer
Patterns of abuse vary and include:
- serial abusing in which the perpetrator seeks out and ‘grooms’ individuals. Sexual abuse sometimes falls into this pattern as do some forms of financial abuse;
- long-term abuse in the context of an ongoing family relationship such as domestic violence between spouses or generations or persistent psychological abuse;
- opportunistic abuse such as theft occurring because money or jewellery has been left lying around.
Spotting signs of abuse and neglect
Workers across a wide range of organisations need to be vigilant about adult safeguarding concerns in all walks of life including, those working in health and social care, welfare, policing, banking, fire and rescue services and trading standards; leisure services, faith groups, and housing. GPs, in particular, are often well-placed to notice changes in an adult that may indicate they are being abused or neglected.