Quick Exit
Berkshire Safeguarding Adults
Policies and Procedures
2. Adult Safeguarding Policy

2.3 Types and indicators of abuse and neglect

There are 10 categories of abuse described within the Care and Support Statutory Guidance. These categories are expansive and cover a range of abusive situations or behaviours. It is important to recognise that exploitation is a common theme in nearly all types of abuse and neglect. The Statutory Guidance (para 14.17) states that:

“Local authorities should not limit their view of what constitutes abuse or neglect, as they can take many forms and the circumstances of the individual case should always be considered; although the 3 stage criteria will need to be met before the issue is considered as a safeguarding concern”.

 TYPE OF ABUSE Table of Description from Statutory Guidance and/or other supporting guidance
DISABILITY HATE CRIME  The Criminal Justice System defines a disability hate crime as any criminal offence, which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s disability or perceived disability. The Police monitor five strands of hate crime, Disability; Race; Religion; Sexual orientation; Transgender.
DISCRIMINATORY ABUSE  Discrimination on the grounds of race, faith or religion, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation and political views, along with racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist comments or jokes, or comments and jokes based on a person’s disability or any other form of harassment, slur or similar treatment. Excluding a person from activities on the basis they are ‘not liked’ is also discriminatory abuse.
DOMESTIC ABUSE The Home Office (March 2013) defines domestic abuse as: Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over, who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse: Psychological; Physical; Sexual; Financial; Emotional. Domestic Abuse includes controlling and coercive behaviour. (See supplementary information in Appendix 6.)
FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION (FGM) Involves procedures that intentionally alter or injure female genital organs for non-medical reasons. The procedure has no health benefits for girls and women. The Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003) makes it illegal to practise FGM in the UK or to take girls who are British nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for FGM whether or not it is lawful in another country. safeguarding women and girls at risk of FGM is available via this link

Including theft, fraud, internet scamming, coercion in relation to an adult’s financial affairs or arrangements including in connection with wills, property, inheritance or financial transactions and the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefit. An adult at risk may be persuaded to part with large sums of money/life savings. Such concern should always be reported to the Police and if relevant, local Trading Standards for further investigation. Local Trading Standards should be involved in the work of Safeguarding Adults Boards. Where this abuse is perpetrated by someone with authority to manage the adult at risks finances, the Office of the Public Guardian should be informed (in relation to Deputies/Attorneys) or the DWP (for Appointees).

FORCED MARRIAGE Is a term used to describe a marriage in which one or both of the parties are married without their consent or against their will. A forced marriage differs from an arranged marriage, in which both parties consent to the assistance of a third party in identifying a spouse. In a situation where there is concern that an adult is being forced into a marriage they do not or cannot consent to, there will be an overlap between action taken under the forced marriage provisions and the adult safeguarding process. In this case action will be co-ordinated with the police and other relevant organisations. The Police must always be contacted in such cases as urgent action may need to be taken. Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 makes it a criminal offence to force someone to marry. In addition, Part 4A of the Family Law Act 1996 may be used to obtain a Forced Marriage Protection Order as a civil remedy. Registrars and registry staff need to be supported through relevant training to know the signs of possible forced marriage.
HATE CRIME The police define Hate Crime as ‘any incident that is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be racist, homophobic, transphobic or due to a person’s religion, belief, gender identity or disability’. It should be noted that this definition is based on the perception of the victim or anyone else and is not reliant on evidence. In addition it includes incidents that do not constitute a criminal offence.
HONOUR BASED VIOLENCE  Will usually be a criminal offence, and referring to the police must always be considered. It has or may have been committed when families feel that dishonour has been brought to them. Women are predominantly (but not exclusively) the victims and the violence is often committed with a degree of collusion from family members and/or the community. Some of these victims will contact the police or other organisations. However, many others are so isolated and controlled that they are unable to seek help. Adult safeguarding concerns that may indicate honour-based violence include domestic violence, concerns about forced marriage, enforced house arrest and missing person’s reports. If an adult safeguarding concern is raised, and there is a suspicion that the adult is the victim of honour based violence, referring to the police must always be considered as they have the necessary expertise to manage the risk.
 HUMAN TRAFFICKING Is actively being used by Serious and Organised Crime Groups to make considerable amounts of money. This problem has a global reach covering a wide number of countries. It is run like a business with the supply of people and services to a customer, all for the purpose of making a profit. Traffickers exploit the social, cultural or financial vulnerability of the victim and place huge financial and ethical obligations on them. They control almost every aspect of the victim’s life, with little regard for the victim’s welfare and health. The Organised Crime Groups will continue to be involved in the trafficking of people, whilst there is still a supply of victims, a demand for the services they provide and a lack of information and intelligence on the groups and their activities.
 MATE CRIME  A ‘mate crime’ as defined by the Safety Net Project is ‘when vulnerable people are befriended by members of the community who go on to exploit and take advantage of them. It may not be an illegal act but still has a negative effect on the individual.’ Mate crime is often difficult for police to investigate, due to its sometimes ambiguous nature, but should be reported to the police who will make a decision about whether or not a criminal offence has been committed. Mate Crime is carried out by someone the adult knows and often happens in private. In recent years there have been a number of Serious Case Reviews relating to people with a learning disability who were murdered or seriously harmed by people who purported to be their friend.

 Slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. A person commits an offence if:

  • The person holds another person in slavery or servitude and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is held in slavery or servitude, or
  • The person requires another person to perform forced or compulsory labour and the circumstances are such that the person knows or ought to know that the other person is being required to perform forced or compulsory labour.

There are many different characteristics that distinguish slavery from other human rights violations, however only one needs to be present for slavery to exist. Someone is in slavery if they are:

  • Forced to work through mental or physical threat;
  • Owned or controlled by an 'employer', usually through mental or physical abuse or the threat of abuse;
  • Dehumanised, treated as a commodity or bought and sold as 'property';
  • Physically constrained or has restrictions placed on his/her freedom of movement.

Contemporary slavery takes various forms and affects people of all ages, gender and races. Adults who are enslaved are not always subject to human trafficking. Recent court cases have found homeless adults, promised paid work opportunities enslaved and forced to work and live in dehumanised conditions, and adults with a learning difficulty restricted in their movements and threatened to hand over their finances and work for no gains. From 1 November 2015, specified public authorities have a duty to notify the Secretary of State of any individual identified in England and Wales as a suspected victim of slavery or human trafficking, under Section 52 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

There is a Thames Valley Modern Slavery Adult Referral Pathway which can be found here.

NEGLECT AND ACTS OF OMISSION Ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs, failure to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services, and the withholding of the necessities of life such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating. Neglect also includes a failure to intervene in situations that are dangerous to the person concerned or to others, particularly when the person lacks the mental capacity to assess risk for themselves.
ORGANISATIONAL ABUSE  Is the mistreatment, abuse or neglect of an adult by a regime or individuals in a setting or service where the adult lives or that they use. Such abuse violates the person’s dignity and represents a lack of respect for their human rights. See Working with Providers Section 5 Safeguarding – Provider Concerns.
PHYSICAL ABUSE  Assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, rough handling, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.
PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE Emotional abuse, threats of harm or abandonment, deprivation of contact, humiliation, blaming, controlling, intimidation, coercion, harassment, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services or supportive networks.
RESTRAINT Unlawful or inappropriate use of restraint or physical interventions. In extreme circumstances unlawful or inappropriate use of restraint may constitute a criminal offence. Someone is using restraint if they use force, or threaten to use force, to make someone do something they are resisting, or where an adult’s freedom of movement is restricted, whether they are resisting or not. Restraint covers a wide range of actions. It includes the use of active or passive means to ensure that the person concerned does something, or does not do something they want to do, for example, the use of key pads to prevent people from going where they want from a closed environment.
SELF - NEGLECT Where someone demonstrates lack of care for themselves and / or their environment, and /or refuses assistance or services. It can be long-standing or recent and covers a wide range of behaviour for example, neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviours such as hoarding.
SEXUAL ABUSE  Rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.
SEXUAL EXPLOITATION Involves exploitative situations, contexts and relationships where adults at risk (or a third person or persons) receive 'something' (e.g. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of them performing, and/or another or others performing on them, sexual activities. It affects men as well as women. People who are sexually exploited do not always perceive that they are being exploited. In all cases those exploiting the adult have power over them by virtue of their age, gender, intellect, physical strength, and/or economic or other resources. There is a distinct inequality in the relationship. Signs to look out for are not being able to speak to the adult alone, observation of the adult seeking approval from the exploiter to respond and the person exploiting the adult answering for them and making decisions without consulting them.