Vulnerable adults, such as those with disabilities and older people, can be the subject of abuse; however, the signs are not always easy to spot. There are different types of abuse that can occur in different situations, so an awareness of possible signs of these can help to alert people in contact with vulnerable adults to detect abuse if it is happening.
Signs of physical abuse
Physical abuse can occur in various care settings, although anyone employed to care for vulnerable adults should undergo a criminal record check. It can also happen in the home and can include physical violence, such as hitting, punching, biting, burning, handling the person roughly or restraining them unnecessarily. Force feeding or starving someone and misusing medication also come into this category. Signs of physical abuse can include unexplained or frequent cuts, bruises or other injuries, and sometimes the person who is suffering abuse may appear withdrawn, subdued, or exhibit different behaviour.
Signs of emotional or domestic abuse
This can occur in many different situations and to young and old alike. According to the Guardian, around two million people in England and Wales experience domestic abuse each year. People who are experiencing emotional or domestic abuse can have low self-esteem, be humiliated in front of other people, feel that the abuse is their own fault, or be socially isolated. Cyberbullying is also a form of emotional abuse.
Financial abuse can include theft of possessions or money; using undue influence relating to inheritance, financial transactions or loans; misuse of a person’s personal allowance in a care home; and preventing someone accessing their own money. Care home operators have a duty to check the criminal record of any employee involved in the care of their residents. They can do this using a service such as http://www.carecheck.co.uk/criminal-record-checks-for-individuals/, which can also be used for people employed privately.
There are other forms of abuse, including sexual abuse, neglect and institutional abuse. Many of the signs of abuse can occur with various forms of abuse and people can suffer from more than one type of abuse at the same time. Other indicators of abuse in adults can include a care home discouraging visits from friends or relatives, missing items of property, or the person suffering from low self-esteem