REMEMBER – be aware, share concerns and act quickly


What is abuse?

 Abuse is about the misuse of the power and control that one person has over another. In determining whether or not abuse has taken place, it is important to remember that intent is not the issue.  The definition of abuse, used in the guidance “No Secrets” is:

 “Abuse is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights by any other person or persons”

 The definition is based not on whether the perpetrator intended harm to be caused but rather on whether harm was caused, and on the impact of the harm (or risk of harm) on the individual.

 Failing to act to prevent harm being caused to a person you have responsibility for, or acting in a way that results in harm to a person who legitimately relies on you, both constitute abuse.

 We also need to be open to the possibility that abuse can take place in a variety of settings, such as the person’s own home, day or residential centres, supported housing, educational establishments, and in hospital.

The nature of the act may vary

 A single act or repeated acts – Abuse may take the form of a single act that has abusive consequences for the individual or may comprise a series of acts, large or small the impact adversely affects the individual.

 Unintentional – Sometimes the abusive act was wilful on the part of the perpetrator but sometimes it may be unintentional. Causing harm may be unintentional but nevertheless harm was caused and therefore abuse has taken place, requiring a response under safeguarding procedures.

 An act of neglect or a failure to act – Abuse may be caused as a result of a person with caring responsibilities acting in a way that is harmful to a dependent person. Failure to act so as to provide the level of care a reasonable person would be expected to provide, which results in harm to the individual at risk, is also abuse and requires a response under the safeguarding procedures.

 Multiple acts – An individual may experience several types of abuse simultaneously. Although the different forms of abuse are presented below as though they are distinct categories, there is often a lot of overlap between them.

 Different types of abuse:

  • Physical
  • Financial
  • Emotional/Psychological
  • Neglect
  • Sexual
  • Discriminatory
  • Institutional

Care Quality Commission (CQC)                   

Tel: 03000 616161               

 Whistleblowing helpline for NHS and Social Care:                                             

Tel: 08000 724725