Safeguarding adults

Protecting people from abuse

What is abuse?

Abuse can happen anywhere and can be carried out by anyone. This could be family, friends, neighbours, paid staff, carers or volunteers. It could also be other service users, tenants or strangers. Abuse is anything that harms another person and might include:

  • physical abuse such as hitting, pushing, locking someone in a room
  • verbal abuse such as shouting, swearing
  • emotional abuse such as bullying, taunting or humiliating someone
  • sexual abuse such as inappropriate touching, forcing someone to take part in any sexual act against their will
  • financial abuse such as misusing, withholding or taking someone’s money
  • neglect such as not providing necessary food, care or medicine
  • discrimination such as ill treatment due to the person’s age, gender, disability or religious beliefs
  • institutional abuse occurs when the routines, systems and regimes of an institution result in poor or inadequate standards of care and poor practice which affects the whole setting and denies, restricts or curtails the dignity, privacy, choice, independence or fulfilment of adults at risk
  • hate crime is defined as any crime that is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be racist, homophobic, transphobic or due to a person’s religion, belief, gender identity or disability. It should be noted that this definition is based on the perception of the victim or anyone else and is not reliant on evidence
  • mate crime happens when someone is faking a friendship in order to take advantage of a vulnerable person. Mate crime is committed by someone known to the person. They might have known them for a long time or met recently. A ‘mate’ may be a ‘friend’, family member, supporter, paid staff or another person with a disability