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AGING AND LONG-TERM SUPPORT ADMINISTRATION

Types and Signs of Abuse

It has been estimated that roughly two-thirds of those harming a vulnerable adult are family members, most often the victim’s adult child or spouse. Research has shown that in most instances the abuser is financially dependent on the vulnerable adult’s resources and have problems related to alcohol and drugs. Learn more about risk factors for abuse.

Stay alert to the different types of abuse

The word abuse covers many different ways someone may harm a vulnerable adult.

Physical abuse is intentional bodily injury. Some examples include slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, or inappropriately using drugs or physical restraints. Signs of physical abuse.

Sexual abuse is nonconsensual sexual contact (any unwanted sexual contact). Examples include unwanted touching, rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, sexual explicit photographing. Signs of sexual abuse.

Mental mistreatment or emotional abuse is deliberately causing mental or emotional pain. Examples include intimidation, coercion, ridiculing, harassment, treating an adult like a child, isolating an adult from family, friends, or regular activity, use of silence to control behavior, and yelling or swearing which results in mental distress. Signs of emotional abuse.

Exploitation occurs when a vulnerable adult or his/her resources or income are illegally or improperly used for another person's profit or gain. Examples include illegally withdrawing money out of another person’s account, forging checks, or stealing things out of the vulnerably adult’s house. Signs of exploitation.

Neglect occurs when a person, either through his/her action or inaction, deprives a vulnerable adult of the care necessary to maintain the vulnerable adult’s physical or mental health. Examples include not providing basic items such as food, water, clothing, a safe place to live, medicine, or health care. Signs of neglect.

Self-neglect occurs when a vulnerable adult fails to provide adequately for themselves and jeopardizes his/her well-being. Examples include a vulnerable adult living in hazardous, unsafe, or unsanitary living conditions or not having enough food or water . Signs of self-neglect.

Abandonment occurs when a vulnerable adult is left without the ability to obtain necessary food, clothing, shelter or health care. Examples include deserting a vulnerable adult in a public place or leaving a vulnerable adult at home without the means of getting basic life necessities. Signs of abandonment.

Signs of physical abuse

Signs of sexual abuse

Signs of mental mistreatment/emotional abuse

Signs of neglect

Signs of self-neglect

Signs of exploitation

Signs of abandonment