Protecting adults at risk

What is abuse?

Abuse is something that is done to another person, without their full understanding or consent, that harms them in some way. It may consist of a single act or repeated acts. Abuse or neglect may be deliberate, or the result of negligence or ignorance. Unintentional abuse or neglect arises, for example, because pressures have built up and/or because of difficult or challenging behaviour which is not being properly addressed.

Abuse and neglect can take many forms. Abuse can include one or more of the following:

  • Physical abuse includes hitting, pinching, pushing, misuse of medication or physically restraining someone in an inappropriate way. For example, being locked in or force-fed.
  • Financial/Material abuse includes theft, fraud, exploitation, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property , inheritance or financial transactions, or the misuse or misappropriation of property,possessions or benefits. For example, having money or property stolen, being pressured into giving people money or changing a will, misuse of benefits, not being allowed access to money.
  • Sexual abuse includes rape and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented and may not understand or was pressured into consenting; For example, being made to touch or kiss someone else, being made to listen to sexual comments or forced to look at sexual acts or materials.
  • Psychological abuse can happen where someone is isolated, verbally abused or threatened. It includes emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.
  • Discriminating abuse includes any type of abuse on grounds of race, gender and gender identity, disability, sexual orientation, religion, and other forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment. For example, ignoring spiritual or religious beliefs, comments or jokes about a person's disability, age, race, sexual orientation, or gender / gender identity, ignoring cultural needs
  • Exploitation includes unfairly manipulating someone for profit or personal gain; it can be either opportunistic or premeditated.
  • Neglect and acts of omission includes ignoring medical 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.
  • Institutional abuse can occur in a social or health care establishment such as a hospital or care home and includes from poor practice to neglect, ill treatment and gross misconduct. This may range from isolated incidents to continuing ill-treatment. For example, lack of individual care, no flexibility of bedtimes or waking, deprived environment and lack of stimulation.
  • Mate Crime occurs when a person is harmed or taken advantage of by someone they thought was their friend.
  • A Hate Incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone's prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender. Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but those that do become hate crimes.

Where can abuse happen?

People who need support need to trust and depend upon a wide range of people who offer them help in many forms. Abuse can happen anywhere. It could take place

  • in your own home
  • in someone else's home
  • at a day centre or college
  • in a residential or nursing home
  • in a hospital or GP surgery
  • at work
  • in a public place

Who might carry out abuse?

Unfortunately we know that abuse can be carried out by anyone such as

• family, friends, neighbours
• paid staff, carers, volunteers
• other service users or tenants
• Strangers

What to do if you suspect abuse

If you think you are being abused, or another vulnerable adult you know is being harmed in any way, by another person please do not ignore it.
If you have concerns or want to report abuse phone Hampshire Adult Services on 0300 555 1386 or the police on 101.
In an emergency, or if you suspect you or someone else is in immediate danger, phone 999.

Further information

Hampshire Safeguarding Adults Board (HSAB) has information about Safeguarding Adults in Hampshire, including advice, leaflets and policy documents.

Hampshire police offer guidance on how to prevent and deal with hate crime or mate crime.

Independent support

If appropriate, you could contact the following organisations that can give confidential advice and support:

For older people

Action on elder abuse Elder Abuse Response Helpline 0808 808 8141 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) 

For people with a learning disability

Respond exists in order to lessen the effect of trauma and abuse on people with learning disabilities, their families and supporters.

Other abuse

Domestic abuse
Domestic abuse support - A confidential help service for women, men, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse in Hampshire. Helpline: 03300 165 112.

24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 2000 247.
Rape Crisis
Rape Crisis national freephone helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2.30pm and 7-9.30pm every day of the year)
Last reviewed: 11/05/2018