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What is abuse?

Abuse is when someone does something to another person which puts them at risk of harm. It can happen once or repeatedly. It may be deliberate or unintentional for example caused by ignorance, stress or carer breakdown due to lack of support.

Abusers of adults can be anyone, family, friend, care or health worker. It is usually someone who is known to the victim. Abuse can happen anywhere. It may happen at home, in a care home, hospital, day centre or in a public place.

Abuse can be a criminal act.

There are 11 different categories of abuse but within each category, it can take on many forms. Categories are:


Including hitting, slapping, punching, kicking or misuse of medication on someone.


Including rape or sexual assault acts, it may be non-contact such as teasing or being photographed.


Including threats, humiliating, controlling or intimidating someone.


Including stealing or tricking the person out of money or material possessions like their house or jewellery.


Including controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, 'honour' based violence, female genital mutilation or forced marriage.


Treating someone unfairly because of their disability, race, religious beliefs or sexuality.


Leaving someone without food or heating, refusing to take care of their personal needs, failing to provide access to appropriate health and social care.


Not caring for your own personal hygiene, health or surroundings.


When paid staff in a care home, hospital or home care agency do not care for people properly or respect their rights.

Modern slavery

When people are forced to work for little or no pay.

Sexual exploitation

Sexual abuse in exchange for something, for example money, accommodation, gifts or affection, and could appear to be a consensual relationship.

If you are concerned about someone, please phone Adult Social Care on 01344 351500.

Or you can report your concern using our report a safeguarding concern form.

If emergency help is required when the office is closed, the Out of Hours Team can be contacted on 01344 786543.

If you think someone is in immediate danger please phone emergency services on 999. Do not put yourself or anyone else at risk.