Types of Abuse

Types of abuse or neglect can include

Physical abuse
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.

Sexual abuse
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.

Financial or Material abuse
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.

Neglect and Acts of Omission
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 infested by rats or very unclean, or there may be a fire risk due to their obsessive hoarding).

Psychological or Emotional abuse
This includes being controlled, shouted at, ridiculed or bullied, threatened, humiliated, blamed or controlled by intimidation or fear. It includes harassment, verbal abuse, online or mobile phone bullying and isolation.

Discriminatory abuse
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’.

Modern slavery
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.  A person who is experiencing modern slavery may be subject to County lines.

Domestic abuse
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).

Organisational abuse
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.


If you are concerned about someone you know, try to speak to them, if it is safe to do this.

  • Tell them why you are concerned and ask them what they want you to do about it?
  • Always try to get them to agree to getting help.


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