Abuse of vulnerable adults

  • People over 18 who need care because of mental or learning disability,
  • People with a physical disability,
  • People who are unable to look after themselves because of their age or an illness.

Who are the abusers?

Although abusers are often well known to their victims, this is not always the case; strangers could also carry out abuse. Sometimes people don’t realise they are abusing. Occasionally the stress involved in being a carer can cause someone to act out of character.

How do you recognise abuse?

Physical abuse: This is usually the use of force to cause pain and injury. Signs of this type of abuse could include burns, bruising, scratches or accidents that cannot be explained.

Neglect: This type of abuse is caused when the vulnerable adult’s basic needs are not met. You might notice deterioration in their appearance or mood if they are being denied help with feeding or personal hygiene.

Financial abuse: This is where a vulnerable adult is exploited for financial gain. Signs of this can include valuables going missing or an unexplained change in their financial circumstances.

Sexual abuse: This is where a vulnerable adult is subjected to sexual acts that they haven’t consented to, or where they’ve been pressurised or manipulated into giving consent. Signs of this type of abuse could include changes in behaviour, or physical discomfort.

Psychological abuse: This could include emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, blaming or controlling behaviour, verbal or racial abuse or enforced isolation. Signs of this type of abuse could include fear, confusion or disturbed sleep.

This list is not exhaustive and there are many other types of abuse that vulnerable adults could be subjected to.;

What action can be taken?

  • If an adult is in danger, first make sure that they are safe. If immediate help is needed, dial 999 and ask for the appropriate emergency service.
  • If you are subjected to, or suspect abuse, contact your local Social Services office and speak to the Duty Social Worker or Care Manager on 01952 676500.
  • If you are a Retirement Living resident, contact your Retirement Living Co-Ordinator. Otherwise, contact your Tenancy Support Worker who will report incidents of abuse or suspected abuse.
  • Action will then be taken to ensure the vulnerable adult is protected in the future.
  • Where a criminal offence has been committed, the Police will be informed.

Your action will help prevent abuse.

Last Updated : 16 February 2016
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