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Bromley SAB

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Types of abuse

Everyone has the right to live in safety, free from abuse and neglect.

Abuse and neglect can occur anywhere: in your own home or a public place, while you are in hospital or attending a day centre, or in a college or care home.

You may be living alone or with others. The person causing the harm may be a stranger but, more often than not, you'll know and feel safe with them. They're usually in a position of trust and power, such as a health or care professional, relative or neighbour.

Different forms of abuse and neglect

There are many forms of abuse and neglect.

Sexual abuse

This includes:

  • indecent exposure
  • sexual harassment
  • inappropriate looking or touching
  • sexual teasing or innuendo
  • sexual photography
  • being forced to watch pornography or sexual acts
  • being forced or pressured to take part in sexual acts
  • rape

Physical abuse

This includes:

  • being hit, slapped, pushed or restrained
  • being denied food or water
  • not being helped to go to the bathroom when you need to
  • misuse of your medicines

Psychological abuse

This includes:

  • emotional abuse
  • threats to hurt or abandon you
  • stopping you from seeing people
  • humiliating, blaming, controlling, intimidating or harassing you
  • verbal abuse
  • cyberbullying and isolation
  • an unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or support networks

Domestic abuse

This is typically an incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse by someone who is, or has been, an intimate partner or family member.

We have outlined further information on Domestic Abuse, and the support available, here.

Discriminatory abuse

This includes some forms of harassment, slurs or unfair treatment relating to your:

  • race
  • gender and gender identity
  • age
  • disability
  • sexual orientation
  • religion

Financial abuse

This could be someone stealing money or other valuables from you. Or it might be that someone appointed to look after your money on your behalf is using it inappropriately or coercing you to spend it in a way you're not happy with.

Internet scams and doorstep crime are also common forms of financial abuse. 


Neglect includes not being provided with enough food or with the right kind of food, or not being taken proper care of.

Leaving you without help to wash or change dirty or wet clothes, not getting you to a doctor when you need one or not making sure you have the right medicines all count as neglect.

Forced marriage

Some vulnerable adults may become victims of forced marriage. A forced marriage differs from an arranged marriage in that the person does not freely consent to it. A vulnerable adult may be coerced into a marriage or may not full understand the decision to marry.

Abuse in your home

You're more at risk of abuse at home if:

  • you're isolated and don't have much contact with friends, family or neighbours
  • you have memory problems or difficulty communicating
  • you become dependent on your carer
  • you don't get on with your carer
  • your carer is addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • your carer relies on you for a home, or financial or emotional support


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