Abuse may be physical, psychological, sexual, financial, negligent, reckless behaviour which endangers self or others as well as self-harm. Abuse may be intentional or unintentional. It may be about doing something (an act of commission) or doing something (an act of omission). When a person abuses another person they violate their human and civil rights. Abuse may occur regularly and systematically or just once.
Physical abuse. Physical abuse is an act of another party involving contact intended to cause feelings of physical pain, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm. Any abuse involving the use of force is classified as physical abuse. This can mean: • punching, hitting, slapping, pinching, kicking, in fact any form of physical attack • burning or scalding a person • inappropriate restrain (not in accordance with agreed protocols) • refusal to allow access to toilet facilities leaving individuals in wet or soiled clothing or bedding as a deliberate act to demonstrate the power and strength of the abuser • a carer causing illness or injury to someone he or she cares for in order to gain attention (this is called ‘ Munchausen’s syndrome by proxy’)
• cutting or otherwise exposing somebody to something sharp • deliberate starvation or force feeding • handling a person in a rough manner without consideration of their well-being • withholding aids for daily living, such as glasses, hearing aids or walking aids • locking up or confining a person misusing medication, such as not giving medication according to doctor’s instructions, withholding medication, overdosing, infrequent medication review or giving medication intended for another person Physical abuse is often accompanied by other forms of abuse such as psychological and sexual. Sexual abuse Sexual abuse is a general term used defined as the forcing of undesired sexual acts by one person to another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault.
This is involving any individual in sexual activities which they do not understand, have not given consent to or which violate the sexual taboos of family custom and practice. Sexual activity is abusive when informed consent is not freely given. For many adults, informed consent is not possible because of a limited understanding of the issues. In the case of other adults, consent may not be given and the sexual activity, is either forced on the individual against his or her will or the individual is tricked or bribed into it.
Sexual abuse, whether of adults or children, is also abuse of a position of power. It also covers any behaviour by any adult towards a child to stimulate either the adult or child sexuality. When the victim is younger than the age of consent (it is a minimum age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts), it is referred to as child sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can occur either through contact or non-contact. Sexual abuse through contact can include: • vaginal or anal rape • buggery • incest touching someone in a sexual manner • forcing a person to touch another person in a sexual manner Sexual abuse through non-contact can include: • forcing a person to watch pornography or adult entertainment without full understanding of what this may involve • subjecting a person to indecent exposure, sexual innuendoes, harassment or inappropriate photography • not giving a person a choice to have a care worker of the same gender to provide personal care • looking at a person’s body inappropriately Emotional / psychological abuse
Psychological abuse, also referred to as emotional abuse or mental abuse, is a form of abuse characterized by a person subjecting or exposing another to behaviour that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic disorder. This type of abuse relates to any action that damages an individual’s mental well-being. The effects of emotional abuse will reduce an individual’s quality of life and their self-esteem to the extent that they will be less likely to achieve their full potential.
Such abuse is often associated with situations of power inn balance, such as abusive relationships, bullying, child abuse and abuse in the workplace. This abuse can take the form of: • humiliating, ridiculing or teasing a person, for example, insulting them all the time • rejecting a person or intentionally withholding emotional support or affection from them • subjecting a person to threatening behaviour shouting, swearing • forcing a person to live in fear, for example, always blaming them for things • treating someone inappropriately for their age or cultural background, such as using ‘baby talk’ to an adult with learning disabilities or dementia • pressuring or manipulating a person into doing something against their will • blaming person for something they are not able to control, such as being incontinent