Causing someone physical harm, for example by hitting, pushing or kicking them, misusing medication, causing someone to be burnt or scalded, controlling what someone eats, restraining someone inappropriately or depriving them of liberty.
Types of abuse
Abuse or neglect can take many forms. Click on the types of abuse below to find out more about each type.
This may involve a person being made to take part in sexual activity when they do not, or cannot, agree to this. It includes rape, indecent exposure, inappropriate looking or touching, or sexual activity where the other person is in a position of power or authority.
This includes misusing or stealing a person’s money or belongings, fraud, postal or internet scams tricking people out of money, or pressuring a person into making decisions about their financial affairs, including decisions involving wills and property.
This involves not meeting a person’s physical, medical or emotional needs, either deliberately, or by failing to understand these. It includes ignoring a person’s needs, or not providing the person with essential things to meet their needs, such as medication, food, water, shelter and warmth.
This involves a person being unable, or unwilling, to care for their own essential needs, including their health or surroundings (for example, their home may be very unclean, or there may be a fire risk due to their hoarding).
This includes being blamed or controlled by intimidation or fear, shouted at, ridiculed or bullied, threatened, or humiliated. It includes harassment, verbal abuse, online or mobile phone bullying and isolation.
This includes forms of harassment, ill-treatment, threats or insults because of a person’s race, age, culture, gender, gender identity, religion, sexuality, physical or learning disability, or mental-health needs. Discriminatory abuse can also be called ‘hate crime’.
This includes slavery, a person being forced to work for little or no pay (including in the sex trade), being held against their will, tortured, abused or treated badly by others.
This includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse by someone who is a family member or is, or has been, in a close relationship with the person being abused. This may be a one-off incident or a pattern of incidents or threats, violence or controlling behaviour. It also includes being forced to marry, honour based violence and female genital mutilation (FGM).
This includes neglect and providing poor care in a care setting such as a hospital or care home, or in a person’s own home. This may be a one-off incident, repeated incidents or on-going ill-treatment. It could be due to neglect or poor care because of the arrangements, processes and practices in an organisation.
For more information about the signs of abuse, and what to report, refer to the Safeguarding Thresholds: Guidance for Professionals.