Abuse can be undertaken by anybody. There is no particular type of person. Abuse can be undertaken by strangers, neighbours, friends, family, loved ones, social care staff, health staff, informal carers, users of services and paid for carers.
Sometimes the abuse may be unintentional or intentional. Sometimes it may result in less or greater harm. Sometimes loved ones may cause harm due to stress.
Whatever the circumstances abuse is not acceptable and adults who need support deserve to live safe lives. We work with you towards resolving the circumstances that have put you at risk and supporting and maintaining supportive relationships with those important to you.
Abuse is harm that is caused by anyone that has power over another person.
Abuse falls under several different categories however some types of abuse may fall under more than one category. These categories are described below to help you understand the ways in which abuse can present itself.
Not all adults will identify abusive or neglectful behaviour from another person. Remember abuse is never acceptable and if you feel something is 'not right' then talk to someone you trust:
Abuse may be:
physical – or example hitting, slapping, pushing
emotional or psychological – for example shouting, verbal insults and swearing
financial – money stolen or possessions used/taken without permission
neglect – not being properly cared for or mismanaged medication
discriminatory – suffering abuse on the grounds of religion, culture, gender, sexuality
institutional – for example poor care provision in a care home due to lack of staff training
self-neglect – failure to take care of him or herself could be due to poor health, depression or lifestyle choice. Examples include living in unsanitary conditions or being unable to care for an illness.
Some adults choose to live in way that could be perceived as self-neglectful for example hoarders or someone that refuses to wash. If you have a concern about adult self-neglect, please report this. The reasons for self-neglect can vary from person to person. We always start from the point of view of the person and offer the best information, advice and support that person wishes and needs.
It is common for people who experience abuse to show changes in their normal appearance, personality and routines. These changes could be subtle and progress as time goes on. It is important if you notice any changes to report this. Everyone is different and noticing changes that are not normal for that person could be a sign that abuse or neglect is occurring, for example:
not having enough money to pay bills and purchase shopping
becoming isolated, withdrawn and secretive
unexplained bruises, scratches or injury
anxious or easily startled
unexplained weight loss
loss of self esteem
malnutrition, ulcers, bedsores being left in wet clothing
behaviour that is not normal for that person, such as becoming aggressive.
Adults at risk can experience domestic abuse from partners, family members and carers, the type of abuse experienced can overlap with adult abuse. We offer adults at risk support and advice to achieve resolution and recovery if they experience domestic abuse. We also work in close partnership with services that can offer domestic violence support.
If you are an adult at risk or you believe an adult at risk is experiencing domestic violence please contact us.
If you observe abusive behaviour or suspect it and you believe the person is an adult at risk then you must report this to us.
If you directly experience the abuse or behaviour that worries you, try and speak to somebody you trust or contact us directly.
You could try speaking to a:
a religious leader
your district nurse.
abuse is not right
abuse is not your fault
you have the right to live a life free of fear
we will listen to your views and wishes.
We have safeguarding workers that are skilled to ask your views and what you wish to achieve.
We will help you stay safe – we may need to call the police, doctor or a friend to help us do that.
If you are unable to make a decision due to a mental impairment we shall undertake a decision in your best interests.
We will use your goals as the starting point of what we do next.
We will talk you through the process, to make sure you are clear and want us to help you.
We will gather information from a number of different people.
We will allocate the right person to do this – maybe a social care worker, a staff member in the voluntary sector or a health staff member.
We will find out if you need help to speak up and find the right person to help you such as a friend, family member, appropriate adult or advocate.
We keep you up-dated at every step of the way.
Keeping at risk-adults safe can only be achieved if we all work together and there are many people that need to be involved to make sure this happens.
The Lewisham Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB) have representatives from health, social care, the police and voluntary sector because we all have a role in making sure you are safe. We have laid out plans (- see below and under 'Documents'), to improve how we respond to adult abuse and learn from our experiences.