Types of abuse and neglect

Physical abuse

This includes:

  • Physical assault
  • Hitting
  • Slapping
  • Pushing
  • Restraint
  • Kicking
  • Denial of food or water
  • Misuse of medication

Emotional abuse

This includes:

  • Threats to physically harm or abandon the person
  • Preventing someone from seeing other people
  • Humiliation
  • Blaming
  • Controlling and coercion
  • Intimidation
  • Harassment
  • Verbal abuse
  • Isolation
  • Unreasonable and unjustifiable withdrawal of support

Sexual abuse

This includes:

  • Rape and unwanted sexual assault and sex acts which the person has not consented to.
  • Indecent exposure.
  • Sexual harassment.
  • Unwanted looking or touching.
  • Sexual teasing, innuendo and inappropriate jokes.
  • Being shown pornography when unwanted.
  • Witnessing sexual acts between others.
  • Sharing sexual or intimate photographs of someone online they did not agree to sharing.

Financial abuse

This includes:

  • Stealing.
  • Fraud.
  • Spending another person’s money inappropriately when asked to look after it on their behalf.
  • Forcing a person to spend their money on things they don’t want.
  • Internet, email, phone, postal and doorstep scams.
  • Coercion and control over a person’s financial affairs and arrangements, including exploitation, pressure, and the misuse or misappropriation of a person’s property, possessions or benefits.

Discriminatory abuse

This includes harassment, name calling and unfair treatment because of a person’s disability, race, gender and gender identity, age, sexual orientation or religion.

Domestic abuse

This is usually abuse by someone in the home, such as a family member, partner, house mate or carer.  Domestic abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse and includes:

  • Controlling.
  • Coercing.
  • Threatening physical violence.
  • Humiliation.
  • Manipulation.


This includes:

  • Withholding access to food or the right food for a person.
  • Not supporting a person to wash and maintain appropriate personal hygiene and comfort.
  • Not supporting a person to change soiled or wet clothing.
  • Not seeking medical assistance when a person needs it.
  • Withholding access to appropriate medication or treatment for a person.

Additional types of abuse

This includes:

  • Cyber-bullying.
  • Hate crime.
  • Forced marriage.
  • Female genital mutilation.
  • Modern slavery.