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Physical abuse

Physical abuse is deliberately hurting or injuring an individual/s. This could include hitting, smacking, pushing, shaking, spitting, pinching, scalding, misusing medication, inappropriate restraint, inappropriate physical sanctions or other ways of causing physical harm.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse, also referred to as psychological abuse, is the attempt to scare, control or isolate an individual by intimidation or fear. It may involve deliberately telling someone that they are worthless, not giving them the opportunity to express their views, silencing or ‘making fun’ of them.

Self neglect

Self neglect is when a person being unable, or unwilling, to care for their own essential needs. It can cover a wide range of behaviour including neglecting personal hygiene, health or surroundings, refusal of necessary support and obsessive hoarding.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves a person being made to take part in sexual activity when they do not, or cannot, give consent. It may not involve physical contact and can also take place online. It can include sexual touching and all penetrative sex, but also things like indecent exposure and sexual harassment.

Online abuse

Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the internet, for example through social media, or mobile phones. Online abuse covers a wide range of behaviours and technologies. It can include trolling, stealing someone else’s identity, cyber-stalking and cyberbullying.


Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet an individuals basic and essential needs, either deliberately, or by failing to understand these. It includes ignoring a person’s needs, or withholding essentials to meet needs, such as medication, food, water, shelter and warmth.

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a personal or family relationship. The most common type of domestic abuse occurs in personal relationships, but it can also mean abuse between family members.

Organisational abuse

Organisational abuse is the inability to provide a good level of care to an individual or group of people in a care setting such as a hospital or care home, or in a person’s own home if they receive care assistance there. It may be a one-off incident, repeated incidents or on-going ill-treatment.


Stalking can be defined as persistent and unwanted attention that makes you feel pestered and harassed. It includes behaviour that happens twice or more, directed at or towards you by another person, which causes you to feel alarmed or distressed or to fear that violence might be used against you.

Discriminatory abuse

Discriminatory abuse is unequal treatment based on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation. It can include insulting language, harassment or ill-treatment due to these personal characteristics.

Financial abuse

Financial abuse can involve theft, fraud and exploitation, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including pressure in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Female genital mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is when a woman or girl’s genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed for no medical reason. It is also known as female circumcision or cutting. It is usually carried out on young girls but can also happen to adult women.