Identifying and Reporting Abuse and Neglect

1. Categories of Abuse and Neglect

Important to know
The Care Act statutory guidance is clear that the Local Authority should not limit its view about what constitutes abuse and neglect to the examples it provides. The circumstances of each individual case should always be considered.

Category of Abuse Examples
Physical Abuse Assault, slapping, hitting, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint, inappropriate physical sanctions
Domestic Violence
Definition: any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality)
Honour based violence, all examples within the categories of sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse and financial abuse
Sexual Abuse Rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography, witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure, sexual assault, sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting to
Psychological Abuse Emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation, unreasonable withdrawal of services or support networks
Financial or Material Abuse Theft of money, property or belongings, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to financial affairs or arrangements (e.g. wills, property and inheritance), the misuse or misappropriation of property, money, possessions or benefits
Modern Slavery Slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude
Discriminatory Abuse Harassment, slurs or similar treatment in relation to race, gender or gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion
Organisational Abuse Neglect and poor practice in a care home, hospital or within an organisation providing Care and Support to an adult in their own home
Neglect and Acts of Omission Ignoring or failing to provide for emotional, medical or physical care needs, failure to provide access to services (e.g. health or Care and Support), withholding the necessities of life (e.g. food, heating, medication)
Self-Neglect Neglecting to maintain environment, personal hygiene or health, hoarding

2. Identifying Abuse and Neglect

It is important that all professionals and others involved with an adult with Care and Support needs are vigilant to any abuse or neglect that may be occurring. This includes:

  1. Knowing about different types of abuse and neglect and the signs that they may be occurring (or a risk that they will occur);
  2. Supporting adults to keep safe;
  3. Knowing who to tell about suspected abuse or neglect; and
  4. Supporting adults to think about and weigh up risks and benefits of different options when exercising choice and control.

Anyone can abuse or neglect an adult, including a spouse or partner, other family member, friend, neighbour, stranger, paid staff, volunteer or professional exploiter.

Abuse can occur in any setting in or outside of the place where the adult lives. For example in a public place or in hospital.

3. Reporting Abuse

The statutory guidance is clear that no professional should ever assume that someone else will raise a concern or pass information onto the Local Authority. Anyone that is aware of, or has information that raises a concern about abuse or neglect must share it with the Local Authority. Any representative of the Local Authority who becomes aware of abuse or neglect, or the risk of it must pass this information onto the relevant person in the organisation to ensure a timely and appropriate response. Where a criminal offence is thought to have been committed (for example theft or assault) they should also share the information with the police.

Important to know
Under the Care Act the Local Authority is not permitted to enter into a contractual arrangement with any service provider who does not have a clear arrangement in place to prevent abuse and neglect.