categories of abuse (CARE Act 2014)

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Categories of Abuse Abuse and neglect can take many forms. Organisations and individuals should not be constrained in their view of what constitutes abuse or neglect, and should always consider the circumstances of the individual case. Abuse includes:

Physical abuse - including assault hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.

Sexual abuse - including rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.

Psychological abuse - including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.

Modern Slavery

  • Illegal Exploitation of people for personal/ commercial gain. Victims trapped in servitude they were deceived or coerced into.
  • Criminal Exploitation pick pocketing, shoplifting, drug trafficking
  • Domestic Servitude forced to work in private houses with restricted freedoms, long hours, no pay
  • Forced labour long hours, no pay, poor conditions, verbal and physical threats
  • Sexual Exploitation prostitution and child abuse
  • Other forms
    • Organ removal, forced begging, forced marriage and illegal adoption

Financial or material abuse - including theft, fraud, exploitation, 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.

Neglect and acts of omission - including ignoring medical 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.

Self - Neglect - this covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surrounding and includes behaviour such as hoarding. It is important to consider capacity when self-neglect is suspected. Also consider how it may impact on other family members and whether this gives rise to a safeguarding concern.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence and abuse is officially classified as "any incident of threatening behaviors, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality".

We think of domestic violence as hitting, slapping and beating, but it can also include emotional abuse as well as forced marriage and so-called "honour crimes".

It's abuse if a partner, ex-partner or a family member:

  • Threatens/frightens an individual
  • Shoves or pushes an individual
  • Makes an individual fear for their physical safety
  • Puts an individual fear for their physical safety
  • Puts an individual down, or attempts to undermine their self-esteem
  • Controls an individual, for example by stopping them seeing friends and family
  • Is jealous and possessive, such as being suspicious of friendships and conversations

Discriminatory abuse - including discrimination on grounds of race, gender and gender identity, disabilit sexual orientation, religion, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment.

Organisational abuse - including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting like a hospital or care home, e.g. this may range from isolated incidents to continuing ill-treatment


Last edited 04/2019