Appendix 5: Types of abuse and how to spot the signs

Appendix 5: Types of abuse and how to spot the signs

Abuse can happen anywhere, in any situation. It can come in many forms, sometimes visible, many times not, it can be very good at disguising itself. It does not just occur in underprivileged situations, and it does not discriminate.

Staff and students alike have a duty to be alert to the possible signs of abuse and then act on those concerns.


The Care and support statutory guidance identifies ten types of abuse, these are:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Domestic violence or abuse
  3. Sexual abuse
  4. Psychological or emotional abuse
  5. Financial or material abuse
  6. Modern slavery
  7. Discriminatory abuse
  8. Organisational or institutional abuse
  9. Neglect or acts of omission
  10. Self-neglect

The Social Care Institute for Excellence provide guidance on circumstances that make an adult ‘at risk’ of abuse:

The signs that an Adult at Risk is being abused may depend on the type of abuse. For example, the signs of financial abuse may be different from the signs of physical abuse. Signs of abuse may include changes in behaviour, absence from lectures or social groups, physical marks or bruising, lack of personal care, missing personal possessions, an unexplained lack of money.

For further information on the types of abuse and spotting the signs please see these guides from The Social Care Institute for Excellence:, and The Ann Craft Trust:

Remember, you can report anything that is making you feel concerned without needing to identify the type of abuse or harm that is taking place. You just need to explain what you have seen or heard that is worrying you.

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