Types of Abuse

Types of abuse/ neglect

Physical abuse

‘The use of force, or any action, or inaction which results in pain or injury or a change in the person’s natural physical state’ or the ‘non-accidental infliction of physical force that results in bodily injury, pain or impairment’. Examples may include restraint and/or misadministration of medication.

Domestic abuse

This includes psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour’ based violence. For more information, click here.

Sexual abuse

This includes rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.

Psychological abuse

This includes  emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.

Financial or material abuse

This includes theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Modern slavery

This encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude. Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.  To find out more, click here.

Disciminatory abuse

This includes forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment; because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

Organisational abuse

This includes neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.

Neglect and acts of omission

This includes ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.


This covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

Female genital mutilation

This is sometimes referred to as female circumcision and refers to procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The practice is illegal in the UK. Fore more information, click here.

Child sexual exploitation

This involves the manipulation and/or coercion of young people under the age of 18 into sexual activity. This may take place in person or online or the young person might even be encouraged to take part by someone in their peer group who may already be a victim. A victim may be offered gifts by a perpetrator to encourage them into activity; this may be money, phones or clothes, as well as alcohol or even drugs. A common feature of Child Sexual Exploitation is that those who are victims will not see themselves as such, however violence and intimidation will often be used to force a young person to continue to take part. For more information, click here.


A key part of the Government’s Counter Terrorist Strategy. Its aim is to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. It is the preventative strand of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST. Early intervention to divert people away from being drawn into terrorist activity is at the heart of Prevent.

Safeguarding people from radicalisation is no different from safeguarding them from other forms of harm. For more information, click here.

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