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Kent and Medway SAB

Types of abuse

Abuse and neglect can take many forms and can happen anywhere. It occurs when someone exploits another person or treats them in a way that harms or hurts them. it can happen once or on multiple occasions. People who abuse are not always strangers. They can always be: partners, relatives, a friend, neighbour or carer.

The different types of abuse are described below:

Physical Abuse: is when someone is physically harmed by another person, for example through assault, such as slapping, pushing, kicking or rough handling. It can also include the misuse of medication, or inappropriate sanctions or restraint.

Domestic Abuse: is when abuse occurs between partners, former partners or by a family member. It can include psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional abuse as well as 'honour' based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Honour Based Abuse: is a crime or incident committed in order to protect or defend the family or community ‘honour’, this may include, forced marriages, honour crimes and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

Sexual Abuse: relates to any sexual activity which the adult has not consented to, was not able to consent to or was pressured into consenting to. This can include rape, sexual assault or harassment, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or inappropriate touching.

Psychological Abuse: includes emotional abuse, verbal assault, intimidation, bullying, cyber bullying, abandonment, threats of harm, humiliation or blaming. Any unjustified withdrawal of services or support networks is also a form of psychological abuse, as is not letting the person have choices or ignoring their wishes.

Modern Slavery: is when individuals are coerced, deceived or forced into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. This can be through human trafficking, forced labour or domestic servitude.

Financial or material abuse: relates to theft, fraud, internet fraud/scams, exploitation or pressure in connection with financial affairs or arrangements. it can also include the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Discriminatory Abuse and Hate Crime: is when a person suffers ill-treatment or harassment because of their race, gender, cultural background, religion, physical and/or sensory impairment, sexual orientation or age. this can be referred to as hate crime.

Organisational Abuse: is where an adult is placed at risk through poor professional practice and/or organisational failings. It can be a one-off incident or ongoing ill-treatment or neglect. This abuse can happen when care and support is provided at home or within an institution or care setting, such as a hospital or residential home.

Neglect: is when someone deliberately or unintentionally causes a person to suffer by failing to provide the required medical or physical care. this may include failing to provide access to appropriate health, social care or education. this can result in their essential day to day needs, such as: medication, food, drink and heating, being denied.

Self-Neglect: is when a person's behaviour, such as neglecting to care for personal hygiene, health or surroundings, has a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing. It can include behaviour such as hoarding.

If you are concerned for an adult and want to report your concerns, visit the 'Report Abuse' page.