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Abuse can be intentional or unintentional, it may be the direct result of neglect or just failure to act.

Depriving someone of services or treatments, or access to people who have a duty to provide those services or ensure they are being provided is abuse.

Examples include: not providing adequate medication, over-medicating, or misuse of medication. Not providing sufficient food or drink that results in malnutrition or dehydration. Persuading a vulnerable person to enter into a financial or sexual act to which they have not consented cannot consent to.

Abuse can occur in any relationship and can result in significant harm, or exploitation of the person subjected to it.

It is important to record incidents that may reflect abuse to determine if a pattern is occurring.

There are numerous reasons abuse occurs and we need to understand the possible causes and indicators in order to work with cases of abuse.

It is impossible to have a complete list of indicators, this makes it important, in each case, to consider the person’s experience of living within their particular environment and other things that are happening within their life.

Anyone who has suffered one kind of abuse is at an increased likelihood of suffering another kind.

It is for the individual professional to assess the situation and make a judgment on whether or not there is a need to refer.

Remember, it is not always about what you actually see or hear but sometimes what you cannot see or hear.

Indicators are equally applicable in all settings, be they residential and nursing homes, hospitals, people’s own homes, daycare centers, or other community settings.

There are ten categories of abuse

  1. Physical
  2. Domestic violence or abuse
  3. Sexual
  4. Psychological or emotional abuse
  5. Financial or material
  6. Modern slavery
  7. Discriminatory Abuse
  8. Organisational Abuse
  9. Neglect or act of omission
  10. Self-neglect

As mentioned before if it is discovered that a person is suffering from one type of abuse there is an increased likelihood that other types of abuse are taking place. For example – if a family member is financially abusing a vulnerable adult you could find that they are being psychologically abused as well, perhaps by being bullied or threatened for their money.