What is abuse?

  • Any abuse is wrong.
  • Everyone has the right to live their life free from violence, fear and abuse.
  • Everyone has the right to live in safety.

There are many different types of abuse. Abuse can take many forms. It can include:

  • physical abuse - hitting, pushing, pinching, shaking, misusing medication, feeding, scalding, restraint and hair pulling, failing to provide physical care and aids to living
  • domestic abuse - including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse, and so called “honour" based violence
  • sexual abuse - rape, sexual assault, or sexual acts to which the person has not or could not have consented, or pressurising someone into sexual acts they don’t understand or feel powerless to refuse
  • psychological or emotional abuse -  such as threats of harm or abandonment, being deprived of social or any other form of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse and being prevented from receiving services or support
  • financial or material abuse - theft, fraud or exploitation, pressure in connection with wills, property, or inheritance, misuse of property, possessions or benefits
  • discriminatory abuse - including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment: because of race, gender and gender identify, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion
  • modern slavery – encompasses slavery, human trafficking, and forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abused, servitude and inhumane treatment.
  • organisational abuse – including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example in relation to car provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off of incidents to on-going ill- treatment it can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, polices, processes and practices within an organisation
  • neglect and acts of omission - including ignoring medical, emotional 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
  • self-neglect – this covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

Abuse can be the result of a single act or may continue over many months or years. Abuse can be accidental, or a deliberate act.

An abuser may be a relative, a partner, someone paid to provide care and services, a volunteer, a neighbour, a friend or stranger.