Types and Indicators of Abuse and Neglect

Organisations should not limit their view on what constitutes abuse or neglect as they can take many forms and the circumstances should be considered. The types and indicators of abuse and neglect are listed below:

Assault, slapping ,pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions

Unlawful or inappropriate use of restraint or physical interventions. In extreme circumstances unlawful or inappropriate use of restraint may constitute a criminal offence. Someone is using restraint if they use force or threaten to use force to make someone do something they are resisting or where an adult’s freedom of movement is restricted whether they are resisting or not. It includes both active and passive means for example us of a keypad to prevent people from going where they want from a closed environment.

Rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing, or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.

Sexual exploitation involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where adults at risk (or a third person or persons) receive something eg food, accommodation, drugs alcohol, affection, gifts, money as a result of them performing (and or another) or others performing , sexual activities. and affects both men as well as women. Often people do not perceive they are being exploited. In all cases those exploiting the adult have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect physical strength or and economic power or other resources. The exploited individual may often be unable to speak alone, or seek approval from the perpetrator

Emotional abuse, threats or harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse,  cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable withdrawal of services or supportive networks

Theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including connection with wills, property or inheritance or financial transaction or the issue or misappropriation of property, benefits or possessions

Modern slavery: slavery, servitude or forced labour or compulsory labour

Someone is in slavery if they are forced to work through mental threat or physical threat:

  1. Owned or controlled by an employer through mental or physical abuse or threat of abuse
  2. Dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought or sold as ‘property’
  3. Physically constrained or has restrictions placed on his or her freedom of movement. Adults who are enslaved may not be trafficked. Often vulnerable adults ie the homeless may be promised paid opportunities enslaved and forced to work and live in dehumanised conditions.

Human trafficking is actively used by serious and organised crime for financial  benefit. Traffickers exploit the social, cultural or financial vulnerability of the individual and place large financial or ethical obligations on them. They control the life on the individual with little regard to health of their welfare.

Discrimination on the grounds of race, faith or religion, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation and political view along with racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist comments or jokes or comments and jokes based on an individual’s disability or any other form of slur or harassment ie excluding persons if they are not liked

The Police define Hate Crime as ‘any incident that is perceived by the victim, or any other person to be racist, homophobic, transphobic or due to an individual’s religion, belief , gender, identity or disability’. It is based on the individual perception and or anyones elses and is not reliant on evidence. It includes incidents that do not constitute a criminal offence.

The Criminal Justice System defines a Disability Hate Crime as any criminal offence perceived by the victim or others to be motivated by hostility or prejudices based on a person’s disability or perceived disability. The Police monitor five strands of hate crime which include:

  1. Disability
  2. Race
  3. Religion
  4. Sexual orientation
  5. Transgender

Mate crime is carried out often by someone who the individual knows and when vulnerable individuals are befriended and then go on to be exploited and taken advantage of. This should be reported to the Police who will make a decision if this is a criminal offence. In recent years this has been demonstrated in Serious Case Reviews whereas people with learning disabilities have been murdered by people purported to be their friend

Organisational abuse is the mistreatment, abuse,or neglect of an adult by a regime or individuals in a setting or a service where the adult lives or that they use. Such abuse violates the person’s dignity and represents a lack of respect for their human rights. This includes neglect and poor are practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home or in relation to a care provider in one’s own home. This may range from a one off incident to the ongoing ill treatment of an individual/ individuals. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of structures, systems, policies and practice within an organisation.

Ignoring medical, emotional, or physical care needs, failure to provide access to health and social care services or education, withholding medication, nutrition and heating. Neglect also includes failure to intervene if an individual does not have the capacity to make the decisions themselves. 

A factor in domestic violence is coercive behaviour which is about the perpetrator depleting the victim’s self worth, isolating them, and exercising psychological and emotional control. Intimate partner violence disproportionately affects women.

Violence that is directed against a person on the basis of their gender. Since gender based violence is mostly inflicted by men and women it is often referred to as ‘Violence against Women and Girls.

Forced marriage is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties are married without the consent or against their will. The police must be contacted in such cases as this may result in a need for urgent action. The Anti – Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes it a criminal offence to force someone to marry.

Honour-based violence is a crime. It has or may have been committed when families feel that dishonour has been brought to them. Women (but not exclusively) are the victims and the violence is often committed with a degree of collusion from family/members of the community.

Female Genital Mutilation involves procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non medical reasons. The Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003) makes it illegal to practice FGM in the UK or take girls who are british nationals or permanent residents in the UK abroad FGM whether it is lawful or not in that country. There is a mandatory reporting duty that requires all regulated professions including health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM in under 18 year olds to the Police. This duty came into force in October 2015. (Serious Crime Act 2015). Where there is a risk to life or likelihood of serious harm, professionals should report the case immediately to the Police including dialing 999 if appropriate.

Further guidance can be found on the UK Government Mandatory reporting of female genital mutilation: procedural information