About adult abuse

Most people have heard of child abuse and the many forms it can take. Abuse of adults is not so well known but happens more than many of us realise.

Older people, people with a physical disability, people with a learning disability and people who are mentally ill can be just as vulnerable to abuse as children and young people.

Safeguarding adults covers people who are experiencing or are at risk of abuse, have care and support needs and as a result of those needs may be unable to protect themselves.

Who abuses?

People who abuse:

  • are usually well known to their victims but can be strangers.
  • may be a husband, wife, partner, child or relative, friend or neighbour, paid or volunteer worker, health or social care worker.
  • sometimes do not realise they are doing it.
  • sometimes do so because of the stress involved in caring and act out of character.

Abuse may happen once or a number of times.

Adults covered by safeguarding:

  • usually depend on others to care for them.
  • are victims of abuse in places such as their own home, in a carer's home, in a day centre or a care home.


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