Concerned about someone

We believe that every adult has the right to be treated with dignity, have their choices respected and live a life free from fear, abuse, harm and neglect.  However, some adults are more at risk of abuse than others. This may be because they are less able to take care of themselves or protect themselves from harm, or because they depend on others for their care.

What is abuse?

Abuse is mistreating someone in a way that denies them their human rights. There are several types of abuse:

  • Physical - hitting, pushing, shaking, spitting, pulling hair, inappropriate use of medication or restraint, or other physical harm.
  • Domestic abuse - Controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour or violence between people who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members.  It can include psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional abuse, and so called ‘honour’ based violence.
  • Sexual - any sexual activity where an adult at risk cannot or does not consent, including rape, sexual assault or being forced to look at sexual images.
  • Psychological - such as shouting or swearing at or ignoring an adult at risk, name calling, bullying, threats and intimidation. It can also include cyber bullying.
  • Financial or Material - fraud, theft, forcing an adult at risk to pay for other people's things, not allowing an adult at risk access to or control of their money or property, or using it without their permission.This also includes internet and telephone scamming, as well as pressures over property and inheritance.
  • Neglect - where a person allows an adult at risk to suffer by failing to care for them or by ignoring their needs, for example with regard to food, medication, heating and personal care.
  • Self-Neglect - not looking after yourself, for example, by not taking care of your personal hygiene, health or surroundings.  It can include the collecting of a large number of items with little value to others (e.g. newspapers) that make it difficult to live in your home.
  • Modern Slavery - slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude where people are forced into a life of abuse and inhumane treatment.
  • Discriminatory - suffering harassment, bullying or ill-treatment because of your age, disability, ethnic origin, sexuality or gender.
  • Organisational - repeated poor care of an adult at risk through neglect or poor professional practice in a paid or regulated care setting.

Who might the abuser be?

Abuse is always caused by someone else. Abusers may be:

  • Family members
  • Professional staff
  • Paid or voluntary workers
  • Friends
  • Young people
  • Carers

Signs of abuse to look out for

If someone is suffering abuse, you may notice one or a combination of the following:

  • Multiple bruising or finger marks
  • Injuries the person cannot give a good reason for
  • Worsening health for no reason
  • Weight loss
  • Withdrawal or mood changes
  • Tearfulness
  • Neediness, wanting affection or being clingy
  • An unexplained shortage of money
  • Inappropriate, dirty or inadequate clothing
  • A carer who is unwilling to let other people have access with the person.


If you are concerned about someone then report it by calling the Access and Response team on 020 7974 4000 (option 1)

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