When recognising signs and types of abuse it is important to understand abuse falls under many categories which will be identified below.
Poking. biting. Kicking.
Very serious physical assault.
Engaging in any type of sexual activity whereby consent has not been or cannot be given. Sexual activity whereby the vulnerable adult cannot comprehend the consequences. Raped or attempted rape. Indirect abuse such as unacceptable contact or by forcibly viewing pornography
By intimidating a person with verbal threats
Isolating from groups and or family.
Not providing appropriate social care or educational needs.
Misuse of power if suffering from mental illness which would bring financial reward.
Exploitation when dealing with wills or bank accounts.
Misuse of benefits or other assets.
Personal possessions missing.
Can be due to low staffing levels.
Cost of care/profit.
Inadequate skills of staff. location/ isolation. low morale in work force. lack of clinical guidance. lack of training. lack of equipment. lack of stimulation.
Ignoring medical needs.
Refusing to eat.
Lack of hygiene.
Refusing medical treatment.
Self imposed isolation.
Neglect by others;
Failing to provide services such as heating and lighting.
Failure to provide adequate food or water.
Ignoring medical needs.
Failure to give privacy and dignity.
Failure to provide appropriate social or educations needs.
Failure to provide access to tools for independent living.
Failure to maintain hygiene.
When identifying the signs of physical abuse it is important to recognise any bruising which is located in protected body parts such as torso, upper arms and thighs. Also the shape, amount and healing stages of each bruise. Injuries which are not easily explained or an attempt to hide injuries can be an indicator of physical abuse. Burn marks which are round in shape may indicate a cigarette burn, or those that are thin and long may be due to rope burn, particularly if they are located in areas close to the wrist, ankles or neck. There could be signs of malnutrition and also general neglect.
Sexual abuse of vulnerable adults can be recognised in ways such as, unexplained behaviour changes, using explicit sexual language/actions which would be considered totally out of character. If any bruising to the genital area is noticed or bleeding from the rectum. Torn clothing and undergarments. Disturbed sleeping patterns and nightmares and showing signs of withdrawal from activities once enjoyed. STD (sexually transmitted diseases) or pregnancy when dealing with vulnerable adults with mental health problems, were consent has not/can not be given.
Recognising emotional/psychological abuse attention needs to focus on more subtle signs such as, anxiety, depression and isolating themselves from others. Acting fearful and becoming withdrawn. It can also have an effect on appetite, overeating may occur or under eating could be recognised. Noticing mood changes appear in the form of aggression, irritability and anger. Loss of self esteem and wanting to stay in bed for long periods of time during day time hours.
If financial abuse is suspected attention to large sums of money being unaccounted for should raise alarms. Not being able to feed, clothe, or pay bills as normal. Becoming fearful and secretive. A third party taking interest in assets or controlling expenses.
Within an institutional setting recognising abuse of the vulnerable could include not having a care plan in place. Medicine not being administrated at correct time/dose if at all. Equipment could be outdated or dangerous. The facility could be under staffed causing distress to residents. A lack of activities and engaging…