2.1 Describe signs and symptoms associated with the different types of abuse (2022)

Course: NVQ Level 4 Diploma In Health And Social Care (RQF)

Unit 12: Understand safeguarding and protection in health and social care settings

LO2: Understand how to respond to suspected or alleged abuse

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1 2.1 Describe signs and symptoms associated with the following types of abuse: a. physical abuse, b. sexual abuse, c. emotional/psychological abuse, d. financial abuse, e. institutional abuse, f. self-neglect, g. neglect by others, h. discriminatory abuse

(Video) Unit 7 LO 2.1 - Identify the Signs And/or Symptoms Associated with Each Type of Abuse | NVQ Level-3

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2.1 Describe signs and symptoms associated with the following types of abuse: a. physical abuse, b. sexual abuse, c. emotional/psychological abuse, d. financial abuse, e. institutional abuse, f. self-neglect, g. neglect by others, h. discriminatory abuse

There are many forms of abuse that can commonly go undetected. If you are in a caring role, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of abuse and know how to act on the information gained. Abuse can take many forms, which are explained below. The list below highlights the key signs for each type of abuse.

Physical abuse

Definition: Any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse. Physical abuse can include:

  • hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, pushing
  • misuse of medication
  • denying access to appropriate health care
  • restraining inappropriately and suffocation

Signs: Physical abuse often comes in many forms, but there are certain signs that can indicate the possibility of physical abuse taking place:

  • injuries that are inconsistent with the explanation given
  • injuries that are not consistent with the person’s age or activity level
  • unexplained and recurrent injuries
  • intentional and avoidable burns, scalds or other injuries to children (indicating physical abuse by a responsible adult)
  • repeated fractures of different ages in infants and young children, which probably indicate non-accidental injury
  • injuries to genital/anal region (indicating sexual abuse)

Sexual abuse

Definition: An incident, or pattern of incidents, of sexual assault, rape and other forms of non-consensual sexual activity. It can include:

  • Unwanted attention such as unwelcome sexual advances
  • touching and groping
  • sexual comments and jokes about a person’s appearance
  • forced prostitution
  • rape (including marital and date rape) and other forms of sexual violence and abuse
  • indecent exposure
  • indecent photography
  • sexual activity with children and young people under the age of consent – including, for example, consensual sex where one person is under 16 or 17 years old

Signs: There are some obvious signs that may indicate the possibility of sexual abuse taking place. These include:

  • changes in behaviour which can be associated with trauma (for example, becoming withdrawn or aggressive)
  • difficulties communicating or relationships breaking down, particularly during puberty or when attending secondary school (which could be due to contact of a sexual nature with older children)
  • unexplained bleeding, discharge or other genital problems
  • fearfulness around the perpetrator of abuse (for example, avoiding someone)
  • recurrent nightmares of sexual activity or of being chased
  • injuries to buttocks or genital area (which may indicate recent sexual assault)

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Emotional/psychological abuse

Definition: Any incident or pattern of incidents of humiliating, degrading or distressing behaviour. This can include:

  • threatening actions or words that appear to put a person in danger
  • name-calling and insults
  • blaming a child for the abuse experienced by another member of the family

Signs: Some signs that may indicate emotional abuse taking place within your setting include:

  • children who seem frightened, worried or highly anxious when entering an area where they know they will meet certain people
  • children who fail to make friends with peers in daycare, school or other settings
  • children who are reluctant to go home from either nursery or school (and which persists)

Financial abuse

Definition: Financial abuse occurs when money, property or other assets are made unavailable, removed or taken away from someone who has limited access to those resources. This can include:

(Video) What is emotional abuse the top EMOTIONAL ABUSE WARNING SIGNS |Identifying Emotional Abuse RED FLAGS

  • taking control of a person’s financial affairs and/or preventing them from gaining access to their own financial information – for example where there is no support available to assist the person with handling these aspects of daily life
  • making debts go up unnecessarily
  • withdrawing small amounts of cash at regular intervals for longer than could be reasonably required (allowing enough time for a cheque to clear)
  • depriving a vulnerable adult of essential living needs such as food and clothing

Signs: The signs that may indicate financial abuse taking place within your setting include:

  • not having enough money for bills or food
  • expenditure appearing very high
  • missing possession or monies
  • poor living condition
  • not being able to pay for food, fuel, or clothing – where this is not explained by a particular event such as illness, bereavement, etc
  • an extreme change in spending patterns (for example, going from living within one’s means to making sizeable unplanned purchases)

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Institutional abuse

Definition: Institutional abuse occurs where the setting fails to meet the needs of an individual and interferes with their freedom. This can include:

  • where there is no reasonable access to activities, support and information
  • restrictions imposed on someone or their freedom of movement within a particular environment (for example, long periods alone in a room)

Signs: Institutional abuse can be indicated by:

  • situations where people appear to be isolated and left alone for long periods of time
  • lack of access to activities, information and communication
  • people with disabilities living in conditions that do not promote their health and well-being (for example, if they are unable to get out and about)
  • unexplained injuries or accidents (particularly where it is an older person)
  • fire risks (such as fluffing up pillows under the bedclothes at night)


Definition: Self-neglect occurs when people fail to carry out the normal and expected activities of daily living. This can include:

  • not keeping themselves clean or allowing their home environment to become dirty and unhygienic
  • withdrawing from social contact and failing to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter for themselves

Signs: As well as providing a service in relation to self-neglect you will need to think about what support would be needed if you come across someone who is at risk of becoming self-neglecting. Some signs that may indicate self-neglect (or risk of) within your setting include:

  • appearing dishevelled – for example, matted hair, unclean clothes or foul-smelling
  • skin problems due to poor hygiene – for example, scabies, sores or even vermin infestation
  • poorly maintained home environment – for example, animal faeces, cigarette butts or dirty dishes in bedroom or bathroom sink
  • not being able to provide basic needs such as food and clothing

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(Video) Types of Abuse | eLearning Course

Neglect by others

Definition: Neglect by others occurs when someone is not able to meet their own needs, which are inadequately met by another person. This can include:

  • someone being left alone for long periods of time, with no one checking on them during that time
  • not having appropriate food or clothing – for example, living in extremely cold weather with inadequate clothing, or being consistently dressed inappropriately (for example, nightwear in the day)

Signs: The signs that may indicate neglect by others within your setting include:

  • ill-fitting clothes – for example, trousers with a waistband that goes right around the body
  • people who look unkempt (for example, long nails with dirty cuticles, matted hair)
  • being left in their wheelchair or bed for prolonged periods of time
  • not receiving regular visits from family, friends or professionals – this is particularly important if they are older people and/or people with disabilities
  • old prescription medication not being used

Discriminatory abuse

Definition: Discriminatory abuse occurs when someone is treated less favourably than others, or singled out for unfair treatment. This can include:

  • harassment – such as verbal and non-verbal (physical contact) behaviour which causes distress, alarm and offence to the recipient who feels that the behaviour is based on certain aspects of their identity
  • victimisation – because someone has made a complaint, raised a grievance or otherwise asserted their rights; because they have acted in a way that would be likely to cause criticism from others within the setting about an aspect of care provision or practice

Signs: The signs that may indicate discriminatory abuse within your setting include:

  • people being spoken to harshly
  • prejudice towards people from particular racial groups, religions or cultures
  • people not receiving emergency medication because of incorrect assumptions about their need for it
  • not allowing people to have visitors or take staff-provided transport on outings
  • misusing health care provision (for example, providing inappropriate treatment) – this is always unacceptable if the patient is somebody under your care but can also occur where someone has made a complaint or raised a grievance that you consider has not been fully resolved within the setting

The signs of abuse are often subtle, and it’s important for family members or support staff members (or both) in your life to come forward with any information they may have about possible victimized so we can all work together towards safety!

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(Video) Institutional Abuse


What are the 12 signs of abuse? ›

12 Signs You're In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
  • You tiptoe around your partner. ...
  • You say “I'm sorry” excessively. ...
  • You're reluctant to call out your partner. ...
  • You're frequently told you “over-react”. ...
  • Your partner brushes off their own poor behaviour. ...
  • Your partner uses put-downs or ignores you.
19 Feb 2020

What are the 5 most common types abuse? ›

6 Different Types of Abuse
  1. Physical. This is the type of abuse that many people think of when they hear the word 'abuse. ...
  2. Sexual. ...
  3. Verbal/Emotional. ...
  4. Mental/Psychological. ...
  5. Financial/Economic. ...
  6. Cultural/Identity.

What are 5 physical signs of abuse or neglect? ›

Physical abuse symptoms include: bruises.
Visible signs include:
  • swelling.
  • bruising.
  • fractures.
  • being extremely sleepy or unconscious.
  • breathing problems.
  • seizures.
  • vomiting.
  • unusual behaviour, such as being irritable or not feeding properly.

What are the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse in adults? ›

Signs of psychological abuse include:
  • Low self-esteem, or withdrawal or change in the emotional state of the person.
  • Changes in appetite, or weight loss or gain.
  • Insomnia.
  • Tearfulness and other signs of distress, including anger in some cases.
  • Fearfulness or silence when a particular person is around.
19 Apr 2021

How many signs of abuse are there? ›

What are the ten different types of abuse?
  • Physical abuse.
  • Domestic violence or abuse.
  • Sexual abuse.
  • Psychological or emotional abuse.
  • Financial or material abuse.
  • Modern slavery.
  • Discriminatory abuse.
  • Organisational or institutional abuse.

What are 5 effects of abuse? ›

Effects of child abuse
  • low self esteem.
  • increased fear, guilt and self-blame.
  • distrust of adults or difficulty forming relationships with others.
  • disrupted attachments with those who are meant to keep them safe.
  • mental health disorders such as anxiety, attachment, post-traumatic stress and depression disorders.
20 Mar 2018

What are the 13 types of abuse? ›

  • Bullying and cyberbullying. Find out more.
  • Child sexual exploitation. Find out more.
  • Child trafficking. Find out more.
  • Criminal exploitation and gangs. Find out more.
  • Domestic abuse. Find out more.
  • Emotional abuse. Find out more.
  • Female genital mutilation. Find out more.
  • Grooming. Find out more.

What are seven signs that could indicate abuse? ›

Signs and symptoms of physical abuse include but are not limited to:
  • bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, and rope marks.
  • bone fractures, broken bones, and skull fractures.
  • open wounds, cuts, punctures, untreated injuries in various stages of healing.
  • sprains, dislocations, and internal injuries/bleeding.

What are the 6 types of abuse definition? ›

Types of abuse include; physical, sexual, psychological, verbal, emotional and mental, financial and spiritual.

What are the 5 indicators of abuse? ›

Common signs
  • unexplained changes in behaviour or personality.
  • becoming withdrawn.
  • seeming anxious.
  • becoming uncharacteristically aggressive.
  • lacks social skills and has few friends, if any.
  • poor bond or relationship with a parent.
  • knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age.
  • running away or going missing.

What are the 7 components of abuse? ›

The 7 most common types of elderly abuse include physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, self-neglect, and abandonment.

What are the common signs of physical abuse on victims? ›

Other signs of physical abuse include:
  • Bruises (particularly indicative of abuse if observed in infants and immobile children)
  • Broken or fractured bones, or evidence of old fractures.
  • Burns or scalds, particularly to the feet or the bottom.
  • Lacerations to the body or mouth.
  • Bite marks.
  • Scarring.

What are the signs of abuse in vulnerable adults? ›

being aggressive or angry for no obvious reason. looking unkempt, dirty or thinner than usual. sudden changes in their character, such as appearing helpless, depressed or tearful. physical signs – such as bruises, wounds, fractures or other untreated injuries.

What are the 3 most common forms of abuse? ›

The four different main types of child abuse are physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and sexual abuse.

What are four signs of emotional abuse? ›

5 Signs of Emotional Abuse
  • They are Hyper-Critical or Judgmental Towards You. ...
  • They Ignore Boundaries or Invade Your Privacy. ...
  • They are Possessive and/or Controlling. ...
  • They are Manipulative. ...
  • They Often Dismiss You and Your Feelings.
23 May 2017

What are the main types of emotional abuse? ›

Emotional abuse can involve any of the following: Verbal abuse: yelling at you, insulting you or swearing at you. Rejection: constantly rejecting your thoughts, ideas and opinions. Gaslighting: making you doubt your own feelings and thoughts, and even your sanity, by manipulating the truth.

What are the signs of abuse quizlet? ›

What are the signs and symptoms of abuse? poor personal hygiene, loss of weight or dehydration, unexplained bruises, patches of missing hair, burn marks, unclean or unsafe living conditions, anxious and fearful and maybe withdrawn demeanour, uncontrolled medical condition and chafing or discharge from genital area.

What are the 9 types of abuse? ›

  • Physical Violence. Physical violence occurs when someone uses a part of their body or an object to control a person's actions.
  • Sexual Violence. ...
  • Emotional Violence. ...
  • Psychological Violence. ...
  • Spiritual Violence. ...
  • Cultural Violence. ...
  • Verbal Abuse. ...
  • Financial Abuse.

What is the most common abuse? ›

Neglect is the most common form of child abuse.

What are the four most common types of abuse? ›

There are four main categories of child abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Find out more about each below, as well as the warning signs that a child may be being abused.

What are the effects of abuse on adults? ›

Adults who have buried their history of child abuse can continue to suffer in ways that can include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, substance misuse, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger, guilt, learning disabilities, physical illness, disturbing memories and dissociation.

What are four effects of abuse? ›

Maltreatment can cause victims to feel isolation, fear, and distrust, which can translate into lifelong psychological consequences that can manifest as educational difficulties, low self-esteem, depression, and trouble forming and maintaining relationships.

What are the side effects of abuse? ›

But abuse can come in many forms.
Adults who were abused or neglected as children may also be more likely to develop chronic health problems, including:
  • eating disorders.
  • headaches.
  • heart disease.
  • mental health issues.
  • obesity.
  • substance use disorders.

What are the 8 forms of abuse? ›

Intimate partner violence can occur in many different forms.
  • Hitting, slapping, punching, kicking.
  • Burning.
  • Strangulation.
  • Damaging personal property.
  • Refusing medical care and/or controlling medication.
  • Coercing partner into substance abuse.
  • Use of weapons.

What is abuse examples? ›

Some examples include slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, or inappropriately using drugs or physical restraints.

What are the six most common types of emotional abuse? ›

Types of Emotional Abuse
  1. Rejecting. Parents or caregivers who display rejecting behavior toward a child will often [purposefully or unconsciously] let a child know, in a variety of ways, that he or she is unwanted. ...
  2. Ignoring. ...
  3. Terrorizing. ...
  4. Isolating. ...
  5. Corrupting. ...
  6. Exploiting.

What are the 4 types of abuse in healthcare? ›

There are five common types of nursing home abuse, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA): physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect.

What are considered behavioral signs of abuse? ›

Behavioral indicators of physical abuse include:
  • Fear of going home.
  • Extreme apprehensiveness or vigilance.
  • Pronounced aggression or passivity.
  • Flinching easily or avoiding touch.
  • Abusive behavior or talk during play.
  • Unable to recall how injuries occurred.
  • Account of injuries is inconsistent with the nature of the injuries.

What are the signs symptoms indicators and Behaviours that may cause concern in safeguarding? ›

Possible indicators of neglect
  • Excessive hunger.
  • Inadequate or insufficient clothing.
  • Poor personal or dental hygiene.
  • Untreated medical issues.
  • Changes in weight or being excessively under or overweight.
  • Low self-esteem, attachment issues, depression or self-harm.
  • Poor relationships with peers.

How many known types of abuse are there? ›

The eight types of abuse are: Physical abuse: When one person harms another person and causes injury to the body. 9. Sexual abuse: Any form of sexual violence or exploitation.

What are the 10 signs of neglect? ›

Signs of neglect
  • poor appearance and hygiene. being smelly or dirty. being hungry or not given money for food. ...
  • health and development problems. anaemia. ...
  • housing and family issues. living in an unsuitable home environment, such as having no heating. ...
  • change in behaviour. becoming clingy.

What are 6 behaviors that indicate emotional abuse? ›

Emotional abuse, which is used to gain power and control in a relationship, may take a number of forms, including but not limited to: insulting, criticizing, threatening, gaslighting, ridiculing, shaming, intimidating, swearing, name-calling, stonewalling, lying, belittling and ignoring.

What are the elements of abuse? ›

Three elements are usually involved and create the environment for an incident of abuse to occur: 1) the abuser; 2) the abused; 3) a crisis.

What are the 5 different forms of elder abuse? ›

Being well informed of the different types of abuse can help prevent and save a friend or loved one. Abuse isn't just physical injuries — it can also be emotional. Elders can suffer from sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, and even self-neglect.

What are the main effects of physical abuse? ›

Physical abuse can cause many chronic (long-lasting) health problems, including heart problems, high blood pressure, and digestive problems. Women who are abused are also more likely to develop depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. Women who are abused may also misuse alcohol or drugs as a way to cope.

What are the physical and emotional effects of abuse? ›

Emotional and physical consequences

Short-term emotional and physiological effects may include fear, hopelessness, moodiness, shame and difficulty concentrating. As time goes on, these get worse. Psychological abuse also often affects the victim's ability to form healthy and trusting relationships in the future.

What is the most common form of abuse in adults? ›

Some of the most common forms of abuse in adults include:

Emotional Abuse and Psychological Abuse. Neglect. Self-neglect. Financial or Material Abuse.

What are at least 3 examples of mental abuse? ›

Mental abuse can be described as acts that can cause someone to feel insulted or demeaned or wear down someone's self-esteem. Examples include making unreasonable demands, being overly critical, wanting a partner to sacrifice needs for others, and causing them to doubt their perception (gaslighting).

What are some of the most common signs of each of the forms of abuse? ›

Changes in behavior — such as aggression, anger, hostility or hyperactivity — or changes in school performance. Depression, anxiety or unusual fears, or a sudden loss of self-confidence. Sleep problems and nightmares. An apparent lack of supervision.

What are three 3 other indicators of possible abuse and or neglect? ›

The following indicators may indicate neglect:
  • failure to thrive.
  • developmental delay.
  • prone to illness.
  • sallow or sickly appearance.
  • abnormally high appetite, stealing or hoarding food.
  • smelly or dirty appearance.
  • untreated medical conditions.

What should you do if you notice signs or symptoms of abuse? ›

If you feel someone you know is showing signs of being abused, talk to them to see if there's anything you can do to help. If they're being abused, they may not want to talk about it straight away, especially if they've become used to making excuses for their injuries or changes in personality.

What is the most common cause of abuse? ›

Stress, tiredness or lack of parenting skills or family support make the pressures of caring for a child overwhelming, and can cause abuse. Causes of child abuse can include: isolation and lack of support — no family members, friends, partners or community support to help with the demands of parenting.

What are some of the symptoms that a victim of emotional abuse may have? ›

Emotional and psychological abuse can have severe short- and long-term effects. This type of abuse can affect both your physical and your mental health. You may experience feelings of confusion, anxiety, shame, guilt, frequent crying, over-compliance, powerlessness, and more.


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