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Protecting people from abuse
"I didn't think it could happen to me. I've always known
what to do but I realised that this was something I couldn't deal
with on my own but I didn't know who to turn to. Luckily, my carer
realised I wasn't quite my usual self and encouraged me to
What is adult abuse?
The abuser is usually well known to the person. This can be a
friend, relative or anyone who has or takes responsibility to care
for the person either at home, in hospital or in a care home. Abuse
can occur when staff are inadequately trained or supervised and
have poor management or guidance. The strain of caring for someone,
especially on a long-term basis, can lead people to act in ways
that they should not. Family members in particular can put pressure
on older relatives to make decisions that otherwise they would not
Not all people are vulnerable to abuse. Those who still manage
their own money, make their own decisions, are able to look after
themselves and who have a wide network of friends and family are
much less likely to suffer abuse. However, the likelihood of abuse
happening cannot be ruled out altogether. In social care, we
sometimes talk about "vulnerable adults" or "adults at risk" when we
are concerned about people who are unable to protect themselves
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Everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity. The
earlier abuse is reported, the less long-term harm can be carried
Types of abuse
It is financial abuse to take money or possessions without
permission. The use or disposal of money or possessions through
wills, powers of attorney or in an attempt to avoid inheritance tax
or paying for care is also financial abuse. If you have a care
package at home from social services and the carers do not turn up
as expected or do not stay for their allocated time, this is also
financial abuse. If you are pressurised to buy goods or services
you do not want, this is also considered as financial abuse.
This abuse takes many forms, including depriving an individual
of their right to choose the way they live, are treated or spoken
to. It includes someone being rude to you, being verbally
aggressive, shouting at or humiliating you. This could be someone
you trust. This can be very distressing and can have serious
consequences for the person being abused.
Denying someone their basic needs is abuse and neglect.
This form of abuse is the least likely to be talked about but
does happen. Any unwanted sexual contact or verbal suggestion is
unacceptable, whatever your age or gender.
Physical abuse may take many forms. Any inappropriate or
unwanted physical contact is abuse. Restraint that is unnecessary
or too controlling, so that it results in you being isolated from
your friends, family and any help that is offered for your care is
Domestic abuse website
is any incident, threatening behaviour or abuse (psychological,
physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or
have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender
For more information on services that help you, or if you are
subject to domestic violence, visit Domestic Abuse: Support
Services in Kent and Medway.
What can you do if you or someone you know is experiencing
If you are being abused, you need to know that you are not to
blame for the way you are being treated. Everyone has the right to
live without fear and the right to safe, healthy relationships and
to have control over their own life.
Talk to the person who is abusing you or get someone to speak to
them on your behalf. Make it clear that the way they are treating
you is not acceptable and that you want it to stop. Sometimes
people who are close to you do not realise you are unhappy unless
you tell them.
Seek legal advice if you are concerned about any legal
agreements that you are not sure about. The Civil Legal
Advice website has more information.
If you have a concern about a child or children being at risk of
abuse or neglect, please report this to Medway Customer First Team
using the contact details below. For more information, visit the
Medway Safeguarding Children Board
Never feel embarrassed about highlighting abuse. Do not be
afraid to complain or make a fuss. Sometimes the police need to
know about abuse but if you are worried about contacting the
police, contact the council. Many abuse victims are unable to speak
up for themselves. Speak to your community police officer, local
social worker, church, community nurse or general practitioner. If
you suspect that a person is being abused, tell someone.
If you are being abused, talk to someone you trust. This may
help you decide what you can do about it. If you are not ready to
seek help, that is your choice but you may still want some
information. Information gives you choice and personal power. Do
not try to cover it up. If the abuse is occurring in the hospital
or care home, it should be reported to the person in charge
If you are in immediate danger, call 999.
Kent Police has information on their website on how to report
an incident or contact them. Or contact the council using the
details below and talk to someone in confidence.
Find out how to make a referral.
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