Adult Social Care - Keeping Adults Safe

Abuse - The Facts


Everyone should be able to live safely, without having to worry about being exploited, abused or neglected.

Definition of an Adult at risk

The Care Act defines an adult at risk as “an adult who has care and support needs and is or is at risk of, being abused or neglected and unable to protect themselves against the abuse or neglect because of those needs”.

Unfortunately, older people and adults with disabilities or long-term health problems who are dependent on other people to care and support them are often more at risk of abuse.

The information on this web page explains what adult abuse is. It explains what you should do if you are experiencing abuse or if you are concerned about someone else.

What is abuse

Abuse is when someone does something that hurts or frightens you or makes you anxious or unhappy.

There are lots of types of abuse including:

  • If someone hits, slaps, punches, kicks, pushes, bites, burns or hurts your body in any other way it is physical abuse.
  • If someone touches your body or makes you touch them or forces you to have sex with them when you don’t want to it is sexual abuse.
  • If someone threatens to harm or abandon you, or they shout at you and humiliate you it is emotional abuse.
  • If someone takes your money or possessions without permission. If they stop you having access to your money. Or if they put pressure on you to leave them money or things in your will it is financial abuse.
  • If the person who takes care of you stops giving you the help you need to stay warm, get washed and dressed, eat properly or take your medicine it is neglect.
  • If someone stops taking care of themselves it is self-neglect.
  • If you are being treated unfairly because of the colour of your skin, your age, your beliefs, your disability or your sexuality it is discrimination. Sometimes this is called hate crime.


Where can abuse happen

It could happen anywhere:

  • In your home;
  • at work;
  • at college;
  • in a hospital;
  • at a day centre or in a care home;
  • at a club or in any public place.


Who are the abusers

Anyone could be an abuser.

Concerned about an Adult

If you think you are being abused or you are concerned about someone else please visit our report a concern web pages for further information.