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Abuse & Neglect

Abuse or neglect can happen anywhere including at home, in care homes, day care centres or hospitals. It may be a single act or take place over a longer period of time. Abuse can take different forms:

Common forms of abuse

  • Physical abuse – including assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.
  • Domestic abuse – including psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour’ based violence.
  • Sexual abuse – including rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography.
  • Psychological abuse – including emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation or blaming.
  • Financial or material abuse – including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements.
  • Modern slavery – encompasses slavery, human trafficking, forced labour and domestic servitude.
  • Discriminatory abuse – including forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment because of race, gender and gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.
  • Organisational abuse – including neglect and poor care practice within and institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home, for example, or in relation to care provided in one’s own home.
  • Neglect and acts of omission – including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.
  • Self neglect – this covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding

Signs & Indications

Signs and indicators of abuse and neglect:

It is not easy to identify signs that could indicate an adult with care and support needs is being abused or neglected, especially if the person being abused or neglected is afraid to speak out.

However, there are some more common signs of abuse or neglect which, if seen, may suggest that abuse has occurred:

  • Multiple bruising or finger marks
  • Injuries that cannot be easily explained
  • Deterioration of health for no apparent reason sudden and unusual loss of weight
  • Inappropriate or inadequate clothing
  • Withdrawal or mood changes
  • A carer who is unwilling to allow access to the person
  • A person who is unwilling or unhappy about being left alone with a particular carer
  • Unexplained shortage or disappearance of money

It is far more likely that the person responsible for the abuse or neglect is known to the adult and is in a position of trust and power.

It is important to remember that abuse or neglect can happen anywhere: for example, in someone’s own home, in a public place, in hospital, in a care home or in college. It can take place when an adult lives alone or with others.

Who might need support to stay safe?

Promoting people’s wellbeing is at the heart of the Care Act 2014, and the prevention of abuse and neglect is an essential part of promoting someone’s wellbeing.

Safeguarding duties apply to all adults with care and support regardless of whether the person has care and support needs that are being met the council, another agency or whether the person is privately funding their own support.

An adult with care and support needs may be

  • An older person
  • A person with a physical disability, a learning difficulty or a sensory impairment
  • Someone with mental health needs, including dementia or a personality disorder
  • A person with a long-term health condition
  • Someone who misuses substances or alcohol to the extent that it affects their ability to manage day-to-day living.

City of York Council and other local commissioners have a duty to make sure that the care and support services they commission are provided safely and to a high standard, while also recognising and tackling the abuse and neglect that happens in community and domestic settings.

Working with their partner organisations, including housing organisations, the National Health Service (NHS) and the police, City of York Safeguarding Adults Board will make sure that adults who may be at risk of abuse or neglect are enabled to live as safely and independently as possible, making their own decisions and taking control of their own lives.

City of York Council also has safeguarding responsibilities for carers which , in the majority of situations, will be met through an assessment of their cares needs

People who might abuse & neglect you

It is important to remember that anyone can carry out abuse or neglect, including:

  • Spouses/partners
  • Other family members
  • Neighbours
  • Friends
  • Acquaintances
  • Local residents
  • People who deliberately exploit adults they perceive as vulnerable to abuse
  • Paid staff or professionals
  • Volunteers and strangers.

How to raise a safeguarding concern

Raising a safeguarding concern

If you think you or someone you know is being abused, or neglected you should tell someone you trust.

This could be a friend, a teacher, your family, a social worker, a doctor, a police officer or someone else that you trust. Ask them to help you stop it, report it or make a complaint and remember that you understand abuse or neglect is never your fault.

Supporting people when concerns are raised about abuse or neglect can be very difficult and distressing for everyone involved. Deciding what the right thing to do can be stressful, particularly if the person you are concerned about is reluctant to accept support. If you are not sure what to do you can always seek advice.

To report a crime:

  • in an emergency, contact the police, telephone: 999
  • if the person is not in immediate danger, contact the police, telephone: 101

To report a safeguarding concern:

  • contact adult social care, telephone: 01904 555111 (office hours) 
  • hearing impaired customers can use the text facility 07534 437804 
  • out of hours, please contact the Emergency Duty Team on 0300 131 2131
  • or find out how to report child abuse by visiting the City of York Council website

If you're not sure what to do the City of York Council adult social care team can give you advice, telephone 01904 555111.

If you are a paid worker or volunteer you will need to refer to the Safeguarding Adults 'concern form' to tell the City of York Council about your concerns.

What will happen when I have raised a safeguarding concern?

City of York Council will always take it seriously when someone tells them that they believe an adult with care and support needs has experienced abuse or neglect, or they have information about a situation that could lead to abuse or neglect.

Everyone is different, and the Council will need different information, advice and support depending on their situation.

The Council will always make sure that the adult with care and support needs receives the help and support they need to take action and make choices that help them to retain choice over their own life.

City of York Safeguarding Adults Board

More information can be found on the City of York Safeguarding Adults Board website.

Last updated: 15/06/2023

Websites you may be interested in

Useful Organisations

The following details may also be helpful to you:

Action on Elder Abuse, tel: 08088 088141

Victim Support Helpline, tel: 0808 1689111

The Samaritans, tel: 116 123

Age UK, tel: 0800 055 6112

Shelter, tel: 0808 800 4444

BT Nuisance Call Advice  tel: 0800 661441

Women’s Aid, tel: 0808 2000247

The Care Quality Commission, tel: 03000 616161

North Yorkshire Police, tel: 01904 618691, 101, or in an emergency 999