What is abuse and neglect?

What is abuse and neglect?

There are many types of abusive behaviour some of which are difficult to spot.

Abuse and neglect

Abuse or neglect is an action, or lack of action, that leads to harm occurring to another person.  It may be intentional or unintentional.  

The following are examples of what constitutes abuse and neglect

  • physical abuse - which can include hitting or pushing
  • emotional abuse - which can include bullying
  • financial abuse - which includes stealing money or property
  • sexual abuse - which can include sexual activity without consent
  • neglect - which includes ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, and the withholding of the essentials of life, such as medication, adequate food or heating

Who Needs Safeguarding? (Types of Abuse) - Worcestershire Safeguarding Boards (safeguardingworcestershire.org.uk)

Abuse and neglect can be carried out by different people, but it's often someone known and trusted such as friends, paid for carers or family.

Who is at risk of abuse

Safeguarding is for people who because of issue such as dementia, learning disability, mental ill-health or substance abuse, have care and support needs that may make them more vulnerable to abuse or neglect.

Where does abuse happen?

People can be abused anywhere:

  • their own homes
  • care homes (with or without nursing)
  • day centres
  • workplaces
  • hospitals
  • public places

What is adult Safeguarding?

Abuse can happen to anyone, but people who need support to help them to live independently may be at an increased risk of abuse or neglect as a result of these needs.

Adult safeguarding provides additional support for people who need support to help them to live independently who are at risk of abuse or neglect.

What should I do if I suspect abuse?

If you are worried or suspect a vulnerable adult is being abused, you can find out more information by visiting reporting a safeguarding concern about an adult.


self-neglect covers many different situations, including neglecting to care for your personal hygiene, health or surroundings and can include hoarding when it becomes extreme (including keeping a higher than usual number of animals as domestic pets without the ability to properly care for them). 

To if you are concerned that somebody is neglecting themselves you can make a referral, you can make a referral on the Worcestershire Adults Portal to help identify support available to them. 

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