Types of Abuse


This could be hitting, slapping, pushing or kicking.


This includes rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult at risk:

  • has not consented
  • could not consent
  • was pressured into consenting


This could be:

  • emotional abuse
  • threats of harm or abandonment
  • depriving the person of contact
  • humiliating
  • blaming
  • controlling
  • intimidating
  • coercing
  • harassing
  • verbally abusing
  • isolating
  • withdrawing the person from services or support networks

Financial or material

This includes:

  • theft
  • fraud
  • exploitation
  • pressure in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions
  • misusing or misappropriating property, possessions or benefits

Neglect or acts of omission

This includes:

  • ignoring medical or physical care needs
  • failing to provide access to appropriate health care, social care or education services
  • misusing medication
  • inadequate nutrition or heating


This includes:

  • racist behaviour
  • sexist behaviour
  • harassment based on a person's ethnicity, race, culture, sexual orientation, age or disability
  • other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment

Since the Care Act 2014, categories of abuse have been increased to include the following:

Domestic violence

  • acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation
  • harming, punishing, or frightening the person
  • isolating the person from sources of support
  • exploitation of resources or money

Sexual Exploitation

  • Appearing with unexplained gifts and possessions that cannot be accounted for
  • Having mood swings that change in temperament
  • Showing signs of unexplained physical harms, such as bruising
  • Experiencing health problems

Organisational abuse

  • Lack of leadership and supervision
  • Insufficient staff or high turnover resulting in poor quality care
  • Abusive and disrespectful attitudes towards people using the service
  • Lack of respect for dignity and privacy
  • Not providing adequate food and drink, or assistance with eating


  • Lack of self-care to an extent that it threatens personal health and safety
  • Neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings
  • Inability to avoid self-harm
  • Failure to seek help or access services to meet health and social care needs
  • Inability or unwillingness to manage one’s personal affairs

Modern Slavery

  • Seeming to be under the control of others rarely interacting with neighbours or people at work
  • Living in dirt or overcrowded accommodation
  • Few personal possessions
  • No travel documents