Salford City Partnership

Types of abuse

What is abuse?

Abuse may be:

  • A single act or repeated acts
  • An act of neglect or a failure to act
  • Multiple acts, for example, an adult at risk may be neglected and also being financially abused.

Abuse is about the misuse of power and control that one person has over another. Where there is dependency, there is a possibility of abuse or neglect unless adequate safeguards are put in place. Intent is not an issue at the point of deciding whether an act or a failure to act is abuse; it is the impact of the act on the person and the harm or risk of harm to that individual.

Abuse can take place in settings such as the person’s own home, day or residential centres, supported housing, educational establishments, or in nursing homes, clinics or hospitals.

What constitutes abuse or neglect should not be considered in isolation. Abuse and neglect can take many forms and the circumstances of each individual must always be considered.

A number of abusive acts are crimes and informing the police must be a key consideration. 

Causes of abuse

Factors contributing to the occurrence of abuse

Abuse occurs for a range of reasons.. The presence of one or more of these will not necessarily lead to abuse and abuse may occur when none are present. They do reflect, however, some of the stresses that may affect the relationship between people who are dependent on others for their care and those who provide that care and which may, therefore, be predisposing factors for abuse to occur.

Possible causes of abuse within personal relationships (Carer Stress)

A carer is someone who provides care for a relative, friend or neighbour at home. It is recognised that providing care can be very stressful and can occasionally lead to either deliberate acts of harm or an inability to provide appropriate care (omission).

There is no evidence from research that the stress of caring in itself is a cause of abuse. In addition carers may find themselves being abused by the person that they care for and some adults at risk are themselves carers for others.

Section 1 of the Care Act 2014 includes protection from abuse and neglect this includes both the cared for and the carer.

In situations where the abuse occurs within a caring relationship (the victim being either the carer or cared for) the aim of the safeguarding adults protection plan will be to provide support to eliminate abuse to either party and decrease the risk of further harm.

A carer’s assessment should be offered.

Stress may occur within the relationship between an adult at risk and a carer when:

  • The nature of the previous relationship has changed from one of equality to one of dependency and care giver.

Categories and indicators of abuse

There are ten categories of abuse in the policy with possible indicators for each type of abuse.

The presence of one or more indicators does not necessarily mean that a vulnerable person is being abused; however, they may reflect the potential for abuse in a given situation and suggest the need for further investigation. Different indicators of abuse are not mutually exclusive to one category and the same indicators may present across the various categories of abuse.

Please click here for some examples of abuse 

Salford Safeguarding Adults Board, St. James House, Pendleton  
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