Definitions of Abuse

What is meant by abuse or harm?

  • Financial Abuse – money, welfare benefits, belongings or property being withheld or stolen by another person

  • Physical abuse – hitting, pushing, slapping, misuse of medication or locking someone in a room


  • Emotional abuse – shouting, swearing, bullying, teasing or humiliating someone and threats


  • Neglect – ignoring medical or physical care needs. Self neglect of personal hygiene, health or surroundings including hoarding


  • Sexual Abuse – being made to do things of a sexual nature against someone’s will.


  • Discrimination – comments or jokes about a person’s disability, age race or sexual orientation


Abuse or neglect can also happen:

  • within care settings, hospitals or care homes
  • because of modern slavery which includes being forced to work long hours for little or no pay or people being trafficked.

Find the definitions of abuse taken from the Care Act 2014, Care and Support Statutory Guidance here; Adult Safeguarding guidance starts from page 189.

 Who can help?

If the person is seriously hurt phone an ambulance on 999.
If you think a crime has been committed phone the police on 101.
Find contact details for your local Adult Services Team by clicking here.