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Signs of Abuse

You may become concerned that someone is being abused in a number of ways:

  • the person may tell you
  • the person may say something that worries you
  • you may see something – an incident or an injury or other sign

You might see and/or hear something happen:

  • someone being bullied or intimidated
  • someone being made to feel frightened or unhappy
  • someone in a situation of unnecessary risk

The person or somebody else might say something that gives cause for concern, for example:

  • a colleague
  • family member
  • member of the public

There might be physical signs or unexplained or unusual injuries:

  • bruises
  • slap marks
  • black eyes
  • bleeding
  • burns or scalding
  • cigarette marks
  • torn, stained or blood stained clothes

There may be other signs such as:

  • inappropriate, dirty or soiled clothes
  • no food or drink available for the person
  • bills not being paid or services, e.g. telephone cut off
  • shortage of money

The person might say things or behave in a way that causes you concern:

  • the person may seem unhappy or distressed
  • the person may appear frightened, anxious or agitated without an obvious cause, or in relation to certain people
  • sleeping problems
  • constant visits to the toilet without a medical reason
  • other unexplained changes in how the person behaves

The behaviour of a colleague or other person might cause concern:

  • dismissive or intolerant attitude
  • task / routine orientated rather than person focused
  • not a team player; insists on doing tasks on their own or in their way; secretive about contact with clients
  • oversteps professional boundaries with clients and colleagues, maybe overfriendly; neglects professional development

You may not know. It is enough that you are worried.

Derbyshire Safeguarding Adults Board have produced a video on spotting the signs of abuse and neglect which can be found here.

Here is a video about Hidden Harms, focusing on Domestic Abuse and Older People.