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There are a number of different types of abuse including:

  • When someone physically hurts you or treats you badly
  • When someone does things, or says things that upset you or makes you feel frightened
  • When someone makes you do things that you do not want to do
  • When someone fails to provide adequate care that you need in order to live safely
  • When you do things that other people feel put your safety at risk

Abuse is always wrong and it is never your fault.

If you are being abused or are worried that you or someone you know is being abused tell someone you trust about it or Report it 

More details about the different types of abuse can be found below. 

Physical abuse

This is when someone physically hurts you

This can include:

  • Someone hitting you
  • Someone punching you
  • Someone burning you
  • Someone holding you down and preventing you leaving
  • Someone giving you the wrong medication

Domestic violence

If someone you are or have been in an intimate relationship with (like your boyfriend or girlfiriend, your partner or husband or wife) or a family member uses their power to control, hurt or frighten you.

This can include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation
  • Financial abuse
  • Forced Marriage
  • Honour based violence
  • Female Genital Mutilation

Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation

This is when someone touches your body or private parts of your body in ways that you do not like or want and have not agreed to.

It also happens when someone else makes you do things that you have not agreed to and makes you feel frightened.

This can include someone:

  • Rape
  • Touching private parts of your body i.e. your bottom, breasts or genitalia
  • Making you touch other people in these places when you have not agreed to this
  • Making you watch other peoples sexual acts
  • Making you look at pornographic images or videos when you do not want to
  • Putting you under pressure to agree to any sexual acts when you have said no
  • Sexual teasing

Emotional abuse

This is when people say or do things to hurt your feelings, shout at you or threaten you.

This can include:

  • Calling you names
  • Threatening you
  • Controlling what decisions you make about your life
  • Blaming you for things which are not your fault
  • Ignoring you
  • Laughing at you
  • Bullying you
  • Treating you like a child

Financial abuse

This is when someone takes your money or belongings without asking.

This can be when someone:

  • Steals your money
  • Take control of your money without your permission
  • Makes you pay for other peoples things
  • Takes things that belong to you without your permission
  • Putting you under pressure
  • to make a will, or change an existing will
  • Encouraging you to sell your property against your wishes
  • Uses your name and personal details to obtain a credit card, or other financial credit.

Click here for Financial Scamming - A Brief Guide

Modern slavery

This is when someone uses their power over you and treats you in a way that they own you.

This can include:

  • Forcing you to work without pay through the fear of violence
  • Forcing you to work to pay off debt
  • Forcibly moving you from where you live to another area
  • Forcing you into marriage against your wishes

Discriminatory abuse

This is when people treat you unfairly because you are different to them.

This could be because you:

  • Are from a different cultural background
  • Have different religious beliefs
  • Are disabled
  • Are lesbian or gay
  • Are a different gender
  • Are an older or younger person
  • Speak a different language

Organisational abuse

This is when paid staff in a hospital, care home, a supported living setting, or your own home do not care for you in a way that respects your rights or individual views.

This can be when:

  • There are not enough staff on duty most of the time
  • The staff are not trained to support you safely
  • The rules and routines are made by the managers and staff
  • Staff do not respect your privacy
  • Staff do not respect your individual needs and views
  • Your personal things are used by or for someone else


This is when people who are there to help you do not look after you properly, or provide the support that you need.

This can include:

  • People failing to provide the support you need to prepare meals and eat.
  • People failing to provide the support you need to keep safe
  • People failing to help you get medical help when you need it
  • People not supporting you to keep clean
  • People not supporting you to wear clean clothes

Self neglect

This is when people are concerned about the decisions you are making about how you live your life, which have a direct impact on your safety and wellbeing.

This can include people being concerned that you are:

  • Not keeping yourself clean enough to stay healthy
  • Not looking after your own health
  • Not looking after your home environment – for example hoarding

This does not mean you cannot make decisions about how to live your life.

Click here for Adult Self Neglect Practice Guidance

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