What is abuse?

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm. It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Abuse and reporting abuse

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person that deliberately or intentionally cause harm. It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst cases can result in death.

Victims may suffer severe neglect, injury, distress and/or depression and people without capacity, such as those people with severe dementia, are particularly vulnerable.

There is additional legal protection for such people under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 - For further information please refer to the Useful Links section.

Cases of abuse can result in criminal prosecution and action being taken by the courts.

Reporting abuse or neglect

Types of abuse


Safeguarding Adults in the East Riding Easy Read v1.4

More information on the different types of abuse can be found on the Ann Craft Trust website:

The Ann Craft Trust - Types of Harm (external website)

Ten types of abuse on a page (pdf 125kb)

Physical abuse

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.  It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Physical abuse could be any of the following:

  • assault
  • hitting
  • slapping
  • pushing
  • misuse of medication
  • restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.

Potential indicators of physical abuse

It is important not to jump to the wrong conclusion too quickly, but the list below may be indicators of potential physical abuse:

  • history of unexplained falls
  • unexplained bruising in well-protected areas or soft parts of the body
  • bruising in different stages of healing
  • unexplained burns in unusual locations
  • unexplained fractures to any part of the body
  • unexplained lacerations or abrasions
  • slap, kick, punch of finger marks
  • injury shape similar to an object
  • untreated medical problems
  • weight loss due to malnutrition or dehydration.

What If... Incident Between Residents Card (256kb)

Domestic abuse

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.  It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Domestic abuse is a complex problem which affects all in society. A significant criminal, social and health problem which has a major impact on children and young people, adults, families and communities, domestic abuse is a challenge for many services and organisations requiring complex coordination across a multifaceted partnership landscape.

Domestic abuse could be any of the following:

  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional abuse
  • so-called 'honour'-based violence.

What if… Domestic Abuse (264kb)

What If... Incident Between Residents Card (256kb)

Domestic abuse and safeguarding adults resources list (590kb)

Refuge Home Tech Tool - A Guide to Keeping Safe

One in four women will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime, and tech abuse is increasingly part of that problem. Refuge has teamed up with Avast. Not only are they trying to raise awareness of this issue but want to equip women to mitigate against the potential dangers of these devices in the wrong hands.

This interactive tool is designed to help women spot devices in their homes which could be controlled by an abuser and give them simple advice on how to secure these devices. Please Note: It may not be safe to make any changes to your devices.

If you are unsure please visit the Refuge Tech Safety website (external website) for further advice and guidance or call Refuge’s 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline (Freephone) on 0808 2000 247.

Refuge Tech Safety - More information (external website).

Brief guidance for safe enquiry about domestic abuse in 'virtual' health settings

This guidance is to support health professionals to safely ask patients about domestic abuse (DA) in virtual settings for example: on the telephone, or online.

Five Rs of Asking About Domestic Abuse

How to get help

Domestic abuse helplines:

East Riding Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership (DVAP)

Confidential telephone number: (01482) 396368

Email: DVAP@eastriding.gov.uk

24-Hour National Domestic Violence Freephone Helpline

Tel: 0808 2000 247

National Domestic Violence Helpline (external website)

Ask for ANI at any UK pharmacy

Victims of domestic abuse who “Ask for ANI” at pharmacy counters will be taken by a staff member to a space such as a consulting room where they can be put in touch with the Police or support services and helplines. ANI stands for Action Needed Immediately.

Ask for ANI leaflet

Domestic Violence & Abuse Partnership (DVAP) Resources

The Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership (DVAP) is a confidential service supporting victims of domestic abuse and providing services dedicated to preventing domestic abuse. The resources below provide further information about the types of services available.

If you want information or advice, or just to talk to someone in a confidential setting please contact DVAP on (01482) 396368.

Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership (DVAP) - Childrens Leaflets

Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership (DVAP) - Posters

Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership (DVAP) - Pull-up Banners

Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership (DVAP) - Where to get help leaflet

Prevention of Domestic Abuse Service (PODAS) Posters

Prevention of Domestic Abuse Service (PODAS) Leaflets

East Riding Domestic Abuse Strategy 2020-2023

The Strategic Domestic Abuse Board and the East Riding Community Safety Partnership formally approved the East Riding Domestic Abuse Strategy 2020 – 2023 in October 2020.

Domestic abuse is currently one of the country's, and region’s biggest and most complex priorities for us to deal with. Domestic abuse is present in all walks of life and affects all communities, having an impact on the people involved with and often long lasting effects on them, and especially children in those situations. It is absolutely essential that within the East Riding we do all we can to tackle domestic abuse and reduce any impacts it can have, and stop people becoming victims.

Read the East Riding Domestic Abuse Strategy below:

East Riding Domestic Abuse Strategy 2020-2023 (4mb)

Safe Spaces - Information about Domestic Abuse Support

UK SAYS NO MORE is working with pharmacies and banks to provide Safe Spaces in over 6,500 locations across the UK.

Please see the posters attached for more information.

Bright Sky App Poster

Safe Space Locator Poster

Have you experienced Domestic Abuse and would like to help shape services?

We would love to hear your views on how to improve support for victims and survivors of domestic abuse and help shape services and strategies across the East Riding. Please see the information here to find out how to get involved.

Voice of Lived Experience Network Domestic Abuse Poster A4 (pdf 1.1mb)

Voice of Lived Experience Network Domestic Abuse Poster A5 (pdf 1.1mb)

Clare's Law 'Right to Ask' 'Right to Know'

In March 2014, the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme also known as “Clare’s Law” was implemented across all police forces in England and Wales.

Under the scheme an individual or relevant third party (for example, a family member) can ask the police to check whether a current or ex-partner has a violent or abusive past. This is the “Right to Ask”. If records show that an individual may be at risk of domestic abuse from a partner or ex-partner, the police will consider disclosing the information.

The “Right to Know” enables the police to make a disclosure on their own initiative if they receive information about the violent or abusive behaviour of a person that may impact on the safety of that person’s current or ex-partner. This could be information arising from a criminal investigation, through statutory or third sector agency involvement, or from another source of police intelligence.

For further information visit GOV.UK:

Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme factsheet (external website)

Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership (DVAP)

Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership (DVAP) can offer advice and support for clients and professionals.

Telephone: (01482) 396368
Email: opsdvap@eastriding.gov.uk
Website: East Riding Council - Domestic Violence and Abuse Partnership (DVAP) (external council website)

Further information on Domestic Abuse

Please see our Policy and guidance section which has a link to the 'What If...' cards which includes one on Domestic Abuse.

"What If... Cards

Sexual abuse

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.  It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Sexual abuse could be any of the following:

  • rape or sexual assault
  • indecent exposure
  • sexual harassment
  • inappropriate looking or touching
  • sexual teasing or innuendo
  • sexual photography
  • subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts
  • sexual acts in which the adult has not truly consented or was pressured into.

Potential indicators of sexual abuse

The following list may be indicators of many different problems so it is important not to jump to conclusions too quickly. Some of the indicators of sexual abuse could be as follows:

  • a sudden change in behaviour
  • sudden onset of confusion
  • incontinence
  • withdrawal
  • overtly sexual behaviour/language by the vulnerable adult
  • self-inflicted injury
  • disturbed sleep pattern/poor concentration
  • difficulty in walking
  • torn, stained underwear
  • love bites
  • pain or itching, bruising or bleeding in the genital area
  • sexually transmitted disease/urinary tract/vaginal infection
  • bruising to upper thighs and arms
  • frequent infection
  • severe upset or agitation when being bathed etc
  • pregnancy in a person unable to consent.

Psychological abuse

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.  It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Psychological abuse could be any of the following:

  • emotional abuse
  • threats of harm
  • deprivation of contact
  • humiliation
  • blaming
  • controlling
  • intimidation
  • harassment
  • verbal abuse
  • cyber bullying
  • isolation or unreasonable and unjustified withdrawal of services.

Potential indicators of psychological abuse

It is important not to jump to the wrong conclusions too quickly, but the following may be indicators of many different problems:

  • ambivalence about carer
  • fearfulness, avoiding eye contact, flinching on approach
  • deference
  • insomnia or the need for excessive sleep
  • change in appetite
  • unusual weight loss/gain
  • tearfulness
  • unexplained paranoia
  • low self-esteem
  • confusion, agitation
  • coercion
  • possible violation of human and/or civil rights
  • distress caused by being locked in a home or car
  • isolation – no visitors or phone calls allowed
  • inappropriate clothing
  • sensory deprivation
  • restricted access to hygiene facilities
  • lack of personal respect
  • lack of recognition of individual rights
  • carer does not offer personal hygiene, medical care or regular food or drinks
  • and/or use of furniture to restrict movement.

Modern slavery

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.  It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Modern slavery could be any of the following:

Traffickers and slave masters use whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude, and inhumane treatment.

The latest version of the statutory guidance for identifying and supporting victims of modern slavery was updated in January 2023.

What If... Modern Slavery Card (221kb)

GOV.UK Statutory guidance - Modern slavery: how to identify and support victims

Describes the signs that someone may be a victim of modern slavery, the support available to victims, and the process for determining whether someone is a victim.

Find out more about modern slavery from central Government (external website)

Salvation Army - Modern Slavery: Spot the signs

Salvation Army: Modern Slavery - Spot the Signs Leaflet (8.4mb)

Modern Slavery: A one-minute guide

Modern Slavery - A one-minute guide (543kb)

A commissioning officer’s guide to establishing modern slavery risk assessment and due diligence in Adult Social Care

This guide was developed with support from the East Riding Safeguarding Adults Board and is aimed at commissioning officers and managers within local authority adult social care teams. It provides advice on to how to set up effective local systems to identify and manage the risks of modern slavery in adult social care and discusses the latest research on modern slavery risk in adult social care.

Establishing modern slavery risk assessment and due diligence in Adult Social Care: A commissioning officer’s guide (8mb)


Anti-grooming

Not In Our Community (NIOC) anti-grooming campaign

The Police and Crime Commissioner and Safer Hull Partnership launched a new film, 'Missed Me?', to raise awareness of the dangers faced by young people when they go missing.

Billy, Tabby, Rosie and Lisa don’t know each other, but their lives are entwined and each of them is in great danger. Missed Me? is based on real-life events and shows the different ways that children and young people can be pushed and pulled into situations of great risk and episodes of going missing. Their stories are different, would you see them for who they are?

To view the film please click on the link below:

YouTube - 'Missed Me?' anti-grooming video campaign

Domestic servitude

The real-life story of a survivor of domestic servitude has become the inspiration behind a new online animation aimed at the communities of West Yorkshire. Launched to coincide with the UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, it highlights the signs, raises awareness, and encourages reporting of this hidden crime. The key aims of the animation are to highlight the signs, raise awareness and encourage reporting of this hidden crime.

  1. Domestic servitude typically involves victims working in a private family home where they are ill-treated, humiliated, subjected to unbearable conditions or working hours and made to work for little or no pay.
  2. The team from the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Hope for Justice, the Modern Slavery Organised Immigration Crime Programme and West Yorkshire Police have collaborated with locally based Fettle Animation to develop the content, which follows the journey of a young woman moving from her home country to the UK.
  3. We know that domestic servitude is one of the least identified exploitation types of modern slavery in the UK, accounting for almost 8% of reports behind labour, sexual and criminal exploitation.
  4. This does not mean that it is necessarily less common, but because it literally occurs behind closed doors, it isn’t identified or recorded.
  5. The victim could be used by their own family members or partner, who often use their position of power as control, making threats of even withholding a passport.
  6. With the anonymised animation depicting the actual experience of a survivor, it has a very strong emotional connection, which we hope will both confront the issue head on and prompt greater reporting.
  7. Over the last two years, there has been a specific increase in reports of domestic servitude within West Yorkshire, indicating women from Pakistan and Bangladesh are being brought to the UK and exploited in domestic homes.

A toolkit in support of the domestic servitude animation is available also for organisations to use. The toolkit includes links to the videos, stills from the video, suggested social media messages and key messages. As well as English, the animation has been translated into Urdu, Punjabi, and Bengali with subtitles.

More information is available from our dedicated webpage below:

West Yorkshire Combined Authority - Domestic servitude animation

Who can help?

Modern Slavery Helpline

We are committed to tackling modern slavery in all its forms across the Humber region by working in partnership to disrupt organised crime, bring perpetrators to justice and protect vulnerable people.

Tel: 0800 0121 700

Humber Modern Slavery Partnership (external website)

The Humber Modern Slavery Partnership

The Humber Modern Slavery Partnership

Strategy 2020-2023

The first modern slavery strategy for Humberside, was launched in October 2020.

Please click the link below to view the new Humber Modern Slavery Partnership Strategy 2020-2023.

Humber Modern Slavery Partnership Strategy 2020-2023 (7.78mb)

The Humber Modern Slavery Partnership have created summary sheets which cover key aspects (not all) of the guidance related to adults.

Please see the summaries below which can be downloaded:

Components of Adult Trafficking (pdf 116kb)

Guidance for Local Authorities Summary (pdf 95kb)

Guidance for the National Health Service (pdf 99kb)

The Impact of Trauma Summary (pdf 86kb)

Access the full guidance from GOV.UK - Modern slavery: how to identify and support victims

Humberside Police - Operation Wilberforce - What Do You See? Campaign July 2020

Humberside Police - Operation Wilberforce

'What Do You See?' Campaign, July 2020

Operation Wilberforce has been created by Humberside Police to tackle modern day slavery and human trafficking within our area.

It is made up of a dedicated team who will provide training, support and guidance to colleagues within the Police Force. They will take the lead in investigating and responding to allegations of modern day slavery and human trafficking.

The specialist team will also build relationships across charities, local authorities, education, health, local communities and local businesses to create a proactive forum to raise awareness, gather intelligence and work together to protect the most vulnerable within society.

Please use the links below to access information posters from the 'What Do You See?' campaign:

Car Wash (1.1kb)

Recruitment (1.1kb)

Sexual Exploitation (1.2kb)

LookCloser to spot and report signs of exploitation

Young people are being exploited and are losing hope, but it's not always obvious.

The LookCloser campaign, developed in partnership with the National County Lines Coordination Centre and British Transport Police, encourages everyone to learn the signs of child exploitation and how to report it if worried.

Please see the Children's Society website which has more information:

Children's Society - Spotting signs

LookCloser Professional Briefing

LookCloser A5 Poster

LookCloser Information Slides

LookCloser Professionals Programme of Learning (pdf 689kb)

Financial or material abuse

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.  It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Financial or material abuse could be any of the following:

  • theft
  • fraud
  • internet
  • scamming
  • coercion in relation to an adult's financial affairs including in connection with wills, property, or financial transactions
  • the misuse or misappropriation of property, possessions or benefits.

Potential indicators of financial or material abuse

It is important not to jump to the wrong conclusions too quickly but the following is a list of possible indicators of financial abuse:

  • sudden inability to pay bills
  • sudden withdrawal of money from an account
  • the person lacks belongings that they can clearly afford
  • lack of receptivity by the person’s relatives to necessary expenditure
  • power of attorney obtained when the person is unable to understand what they are signing
  • extraordinary interest by family members in the vulnerable person’s assets
  • a recent change of deeds of the house or property
  • the main interest of the carer is financial with little regard for the health and welfare of the vulnerable adult
  • the person managing the vulnerable adults’ finances is evasive and uncooperative
  • reluctance to accept care services
  • purchase of items that individual does not require or use
  • personal items going missing and/or giving unreasonable or inappropriate gifts.

What If... Financial Abuse Card (231kb)

What If... Incident Between Residents Card (256kb)

Action Fraud: Vaccine scams

Action Fraud is warning the public to remain vigilant as criminals begin to take advantage of the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine to commit fraud.

The messages below can be downloaded and are to help promote safe behaviours:

Action Fraud: Vaccine scams (opens in new window)

COVID-19 scams

Friends Against Scams aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams. Information about scams to be aware of, including how to protect yourself and others, and how to report them is contained in the link below.

COVID-19 Scams Postcard (pdf 169kb - opens in new window)

Humberside Police Coronavirus Scam Information

Scams Advice Letter (word 70kb)

Track & Trace Scams (word 25kb)

Please be aware that not everyone out there is trustworthy and some people will take advantage of this unusual situation our society is facing.

Who can help?

Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline

For advice on scams contact:

Tel: 03454 040506

Action Fraud

To download the latest resources visit:

Action Fraud resources

To report scams contact:

Tel: 0300 1230 2040

Action Fraud - National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre

Protect yourself from scams

Scams are schemes to cheat people out of their money. They come in a variety of ways - by post, phone, email, online and sometimes by a knock on the door.

For further information please read the following advice:

National Trading Standards Take a Stand Against Scams (pdf 330kb)

Additional information can also be accessed at:

Friends Against Scams (external website) National Trading Standards Scams Team - Call Blockers for people with dementia (external website)

Discriminatory abuse

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.  It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Discriminatory abuse includes forms of harassment, slurs or similar treatment because of:

  • race

  • gender

  • gender identity

  • age

  • disability

  • sexual orientation

  • religion.

Discriminatory abuse can take the form of:

  • derogatory comments
  • harassment
  • being made to move to a different resource/service based on age
  • being denied medical treatment on grounds of age or mental health
  • and/or not providing access.

Organisational abuse

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.  It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Organisational abuse includes:

  • neglect
  • poor care practice within an institution or specific care setting such as a hospital or care home
  • poor practice in relation to care provided in one's own home.

This may range from one off incidents to on-going ill-treatment. It can be through neglect or poor professional practice as a result of the structure, policies, processes and practices within an organisation.

Potential indicators of organisational abuse

It is important not to jump to the wrong conclusions too quickly but the following list may be possible indicators of institutional abuse:

  • no flexibility in bedtime routine and/or deliberate waking
  • people left on a commode or toilet for long periods of time
  • inappropriate care of possessions, clothing and living area
  • lack of personal clothes and belongings
  • un-homely or stark living environments
  • deprived environmental conditions and lack of stimulation
  • inappropriate use of medical procedures such as enemas, catheterisation
  • batch care - lack of individual care programmes
  • illegal confinement or restrictions
  • inappropriate use of power or control
  • people referred to, or spoken to with disrespect
  • inflexible services based on convenience of the provider rather than the person receiving services
  • inappropriate physical intervention
  • service user removed from the home or establishment, without discussion with other appropriate people or agencies because staff are unable to manage the behaviour.

Organisational Abuse "What if" card

Neglect and acts of omission

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.  It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Neglect and acts of omission could include:

  • including ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs
  • failure to provide access to appropriate health, care and support or educational services
  • the withholding of the necessities of life, such as medication, adequate nutrition and heating.

Potential indicators of neglect and acts of omission

It is important not to jump to conclusions too quickly but the following list may be indications of many different problems:

  • Poor environmental conditions
  • Inadequate heating and lighting
  • Poor physical condition of the vulnerable adult
  • Clothing is ill-fitting, unclean and in poor condition
  • Malnutrition
  • Failure to give prescribed medication properly
  • Failure to provide appropriate privacy and dignity
  • Inconsistent or reluctant contact with health and social care agencies
  • Isolation - denying access to callers or visitors.

What If... Pressure Sore Concerns Card (200kb)

What If... Moving and Handling Card (217kb)

What If... Medication Errors Card (206kb)

Self-neglect

There are many different forms of abuse and they all result in behaviour towards a person or themselves that deliberately or intentionally cause harm.  It is a violation of an individual’s human and civil rights and in the worst case can result in death.

Self-neglect covers a wide range of behaviour neglecting to care for one's personal hygiene, health or surroundings and includes behaviour such as hoarding.

Mind - Information about Hoarding (external website)

Download the What if... Self Neglect Card (110kb)

Keith's story: a personal and touching film about hoarding on YouTube

Keith's story: a personal and touching film about hoarding (YouTube)

Are you worried that an adult is at risk?
Report a concern
Emergency out-of-hours phone number
01377 241273



Emergency out-of-hours email
amph.outofhoursteam@eastriding.gov.uk