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

The Ann Craft Trust - Types of Harm video

To watch the Ann Craft Trust video please follow the link below:

The Ann Craft Trust - Types of Harm video

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)

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

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)

Domestic abuse and COVID-19

Useful links

Current advice provided by the Government:

GOV.UK - Coronavirus (COVID‑19) (external website)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for social care from SCIE:

The Social Care Institute for Excellence - Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for social care

COVID-19: Residential care, supported living and home care

GOV.UK - COVID-19: guidance for supported living and home care

Social care provider resilience during COVID-19:

Shared guidance to local authority commissioners from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA).

Local Government Association: Social care provider resilience during COVID-19 - Guidance to commissioners

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 2021.

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

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

Look Closer Professional Briefing

LookCloser A5 Poster

LookCloser Information Slides

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)

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.

For the management and improvement of performance; provider support; escalation of safeguarding and organisational abuse concerns, within residential and nursing care homes, domiciliary care providers and other commissioned health and social care providers in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Please see the new procedure which has been in place from January 2021:

Provider Support Quality Improvement and Organisational Safeguarding Procedure

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.

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 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?
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