Protection from abuse
As we get older, we should be able to live safely, without having to worry about being exploited, abused or neglected.
Sometimes though you may feel at risk, or be concerned about another person. If this happens there are people you can speak to and there is help available.
What is abuse and neglect?
Every adult should be able to live safely, free from abuse and neglect. Most adults are able to do this, but research indicates that almost half a million people aged over 65 will experience some form of abuse or neglect.
This can take many forms including:
- Physical abuse, including misuse of medication and restraint
- Domestic violence, including psychological financial abuse, and so called ‘honour’ based violence
- Sexual abuse, including indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo and sexual photography
- Psychological abuse, including deprivation of contact, controlling, coercion, harassment and verbal abuse
- Financial or material abuse, including theft, fraud, internet scamming and coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements, including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions
- Discriminatory abuse, including forms ofslurs or similar treatment because of race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion
- Organisational abuse, including neglect and poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital, care home or in relation to care provided in your own home. This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment.
- Neglect and acts of omission, including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services, and not providing basic need such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating
Incidents of abuse and neglect may be one-off or multiple, and affect one person or more. Adults may also be affected by more than one type of abuse at the same time.
What can I do if I feel unsafe or if I’m worried about someone else?
The best way to protect yourself or a loved one and stop abuse from happening is to tell someone about it. This may feel difficult, especially if the person abusing you is a close friend or relative, but abuse and neglect is never acceptable. You don’t have to put up with it, and there is help available for you to put a stop to it.
If a paid or family carer is involved, you may also be worried that telling someone will mean that you lose the care and support that you need. Please be assured that your care and support needs will continue to be met as part of any safeguarding response.
You can get support and advice from:
- Adult Social Services at your local council
- Your GP or other NHS health providers
- Action on Elder Abuse helpline: 0808 808 8141
- The Police - You can call the local police on the 101 non-emergency number or call 999 immediately in an emergency.
Call the Age UK Advice Line 0800 678 1174 if you are concerned about abuse
What will happen if I report abuse?
When you report abuse to Adult Social Services, they will listen to the information you give them and assess what action is required. They will ensure that you feel in control of what happens.
You can ask for someone that you trust to support you, or you can ask for an advocate. If you (or the person you are concerned about) has difficulties, or does not have the mental capacity to engage with the process, the local authority will arrange for an advocate to provide support.
If you’re at risk of further abuse, the Adult Social Services team will work with you to plan how you stay safe. You must be fully involved at every stage of this process.