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Safeguarding Adults - Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

Logo for Tameside Adults Safeguarding Partnership

Abuse may take many forms and may include criminal activity. It may take the form of:

It may involve any combination of the above.

Possible Indicators of Physical Abuse

  • Multiple bruising
  • Fractures
  • Burns
  • Bed sores
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Assault (can be intentional or reckless)

Possible Indicators of Neglectinside a residential home and Acts of Omission

  • Malnutrition
  • Untreated medical problems
  • Bed sores
  • Confusion
  • Over-sedation
  • Deprivation of meals may constitute “wilful neglect”

Possible Indicators of  Psychological and Emotional Abuse

  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sleep
  • Unexpected or unexplained change in behaviour
  • Deprivation of liberty could be false imprisonment. Aggressive shouting causing fear of violence in a public place may be an offence against Public Order Act 1986, or harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997

Possible Indicators of Sexual Abuse

  • Loss of sleep
  • Unexpected or unexplained change in behaviour
  • Bruising
  • Soreness around the genitals
  • Torn, stained or bloody underwear
  • A preoccupation with anything sexual
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Pregnancy
  • Rape – e.g. a male member of staff having sex with a Mental Health client (see Mental Health Act 1983)
  • Indecent Assault

Possible Indicators of Financial and Material AbuseA ten pound note

  • Unexplained withdrawals from the bank
  • Unusual activity in the bank accounts
  • Unpaid bills
  • Unexplained shortage of money
  • Reluctance on the part of the person with responsibility for the funds to provide basic food and clothes etc.
  • Fraud
  • Theft

Possible Indicators of Organisational Abuse

  • Inflexible and non-negotiable systems and routines
  • Lack of consideration of dietary requirements
  • Name calling; inappropriate ways of addressing people
  • Lack of adequate physical care – an unkempt appearance

Possible Indicators of Self-Neglect

This includes various behaviours; disregarding one’s personal hygiene, health or surroundings resulting in a risk that impact on the adult’s wellbeing, this could consist of behaviours such as hoarding.

Possible indicators of Modern Slavery

Modern Slavery is an international crime, it can include victims that have been brought from overseas, and vulnerable people in the UK. Slave Masters and Traffickers will deceive, coerce and force adults into a life of abuse, callous treatment and slavery. 

Possible indicators of Domestic Abuse

Definition of Domestic Abuse;

  • Incident of 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 regardless of gender or sexuality.Includes: psychological, physical, sexual, financial, emotional abuse; so called ‘honour based violence; Female Genital Mutilation; forced marriage
  • Age range extended down to 16 (for the purpose of the safeguarding adult arrangements, safeguarding children arrangements would be applied to a person under 18)

Possible indicators of Discriminatory Abuse

Abuse can be experienced as harassment, insults or similar actions due to race, religion, gender, gender identity, age, disability, sexual orientation. 

Possible indicators of Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation is a subset of sexual abuse. It involves exploitative situations and relationships where people receive 'something' (e.g. accommodation, alcohol, affection, money) as a result of them performing, or others performing on them, sexual activities

Contact Information
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Contact by Post

Room 2.88
Tameside MBC
Council Offices
Wellington Road
Ashton under Lyne
OL6 6DL
Contact by Telephone
0161 342 5217/5229/5243
Request this service online!

Page last updated: 19 August 2015