Types of Abuse

Abuse can come in many forms, make sure you're aware of what to look out for by knowing these types of abuse:

Physical Abuse

This is the easiest form of abuse to spot as it is non-accidental harm to the body. It can range from physical injuries such as hitting, pushing, wounding etc. to things such as misuse of medication, inappropriate use of restraint and dehydration/malnourishment.

Domestic Violence

Woman’s Aid defines domestic abuse as ‘physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and forms a pattern of cohesive and controlling behaviour’. People should be aware that domestic violence is not always physical and also includes forced marriage and so-called ‘honour crimes’.

Sexual Abuse

Includes sexual assault or sexual acts which have not been consented to.  Also, encompasses rape and non-contact abuse such as sexual harassment or pornography.

Psychological/Emotional Abuse

Focuses on the mental aspect of abuse such as threats, abandonment, intimidation, humiliation, deprivation of physical or emotional contact and cultural needs. Can also include verbal abuse. Psychological abuse can be harder to spot as it is often done in private and has no physical signs.

Financial or Material Abuse

Can encompass internet scams, fraud or theft of property but also alludes to control over financial ownership such as wills, inheritance or property.

Discriminatory Abuse

Means the unequal treatment of a person due to their race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion.

Organisational Abuse

The mistreatment, abuse or neglect of a person in a setting where the person lives or a service that they use. The abusers can be management or individuals. Organisation abuse can involve more than one abuser and there may also be more than one person experiencing the abuse.

Modern Slavery

Modern slavery is a hidden crime and targets people living in poverty or with a lack of education or unstable social conditions. Victims of Modern Slavery can often face a number of types of abuse and with a shocking 1,746 cases reported in the UK in 2013, it’s crucial we are aware of this crime.

Modern Slavery encompasses slavery, domestic servitude, human trafficking and forced labour. It is an international crime and can include victims that have been brought over from overseas and vulnerable people within the UK who are forced to work illegally against their will in often illegal establishments.

Neglect and Acts of Omission

Includes all aspects of neglect such as deprivation of food, shelter, clothing or heating. Abusers can also harm victims by ignoring their medical or physical needs, which is mostly applicable in a care situation where abuse can occur through failing to provide medication to a person, banning visitors or ignoring/isolating the person.


Self-Neglect is a little different to the other types of abuse as this is inflicted from an individual to themselves and focuses on a lack of self-care so much that it affects personal health and safety. Self-Neglect also encompasses self-harm, failing to care for one’s personal hygiene, surroundings or health.

People who suffer from self-neglect are also at risk of other forms of abuse due to vulnerability.

Have your staff undergone the appropriate training to be able to identify these types of abuse? We can assess and improve your safeguarding procedures to ensure you're fully equipped to better protect the children under your care. Get in touch with a member of the team to find out more:

01254 355688