Adults at risk: Neglect, Financial and Institutional Abuse

Adults at risk: Neglect, Financial and Institutional Abuse

Posted on Aug 16, 2016

Adults at risk: Neglect, Financial and Institutional Abuse



In the last blog we discussed physical, sexual and psychological abuse when it comes to vulnerable adults. But there are more forms of adult abuse.

Government statistics show that in the year ending March 2014 there were 104,050 adult safeguarding referrals in England alone. It is important that we are aware of the prevalence of adult abuse and the signs and indicators.


Neglect – what is it, what are the signs and how common is it?

Withholding a person’s basic necessities such as food, heat and medicine, denying a person access to health or care services and ignoring a person’s medical, physical, or basic needs are all examples of neglect.

The possible signs of neglect include:

  • Malnutrition or unexplained weight loss
  • Inappropriate clothing
  • Untreated injuries, sores or medical problems
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Unused medication that accumulates over time.

Neglect is actually the most common form of adult abuse, and is reported in a third of all cases in England. Neglect can be deliberate or unintentional.



Introduced in April 2015, The Care Act 2014 included self-neglect as a form of abuse for the first time. Self-neglect is when an adult fails to take care of themselves in such a way that it has caused, or is likely to cause harm to the person.

Self-neglect includes:

  • Not eating regularly, or healthily
  • Not taking prescribed medicine
  • Living in dirty and poor conditions
  • Substance abuse
  • Poor personal hygiene.

Unfortunately, people who neglect themselves don’t see what they are doing as a problem, so care services are presented with a real challenge when it comes to intervention.



Financial abuse – what is it, what are the signs and how common is it?

Financial abuse includes theft, fraud, exploitation and pressure in relation to wills, property, possessions or benefits.

Signs that someone is being financially abused can include the following:

  • Missing personal possessions
  • Significant withdrawals from bank accounts
  • Unusual interest in a person’s financial affairs
  • An unexplained lack of money and inability to maintain a regular lifestyle
  • Evasive behaviour from someone managing the adult’s finances
  • Sudden and suspicious changes in wills or other documents.

Financial abuse can also be a form of domestic abuse, with controlling behaviour such as taking loans out in a partner’s name, denying a partner financial independence and forcing a partner to pay household bills. Having no money can often be a barrier to leaving the abuser as the victim feels helpless and trapped.

Financial abuse is unfortunately very common, especially when it comes to the elderly and adults who suffer with learning difficulties.


Institutional abuse – what is it, what are the signs and how common is it?

Institutional abuse is the mistreatment, neglect or abuse bought about by poor practices and inadequate standards of care that run throughout an entire setting.

Possible signs of institutional abuse will vary, however, there are certain characteristics that are shared between institutions and these include:

  • Repeated instances of poor care or inappropriate care
  • A lack of effective monitoring or management
  • Patients, clients or residents are not considered a priority
  • Evident in aspects of the environment – buildings and equipment in a poor state of repair
  • Inadequate staffing
  • Misuse or inappropriate use of medication or restraint
  • Frequent complaints and concerns raised.

Institutional abuse takes place in hospitals, care homes, day centres and supported or sheltered housing schemes and it may be the result of deliberate intent, negligence or ignorance.


Train your staff today

If you want up-to-date adult safeguarding training, why not visit the flick website today? Our adults at risk course is available now, and covers everything you need to know from signs and indicators, what the law says and what to do when it comes to reporting abuse.


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