• Forms or Types of Abuse

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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 non-consensual 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

    bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, and rope marks
    broken bones
    open wounds, cuts, punctures, untreated injuries in various stages of healing
    broken eyeglasses/frames, or any physical signs of being punished or restrained
    laboratory findings of either an overdose or under dose medications
    individual's report being hit, slapped, kicked, or mistreated
    vulnerable adult's sudden change in behavior
    the caregiver's refusal to allow visitors to see a vulnerable adult alone

Signs of sexual abuse

    bruises around the breasts or genital area
    unexplained venereal disease or genital infections
    unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
    torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
    an individual's report of being sexually assaulted or raped

Signs of mental mistreatment/emotional abuse

    being emotionally upset or agitated
    being extremely withdrawn and non communicative or non responsive
    unusual behavior usually attributed to dementia (e.g., sucking, biting, rocking)
    nervousness around certain people
    an individual's report of being verbally or mentally mistreated

Signs of neglect

    dehydration, malnutrition, untreated bed sores and poor personal hygiene
    unattended or untreated health problems
    hazardous or unsafe living condition (e.g., improper wiring, no heat or running water)
    unsanitary and unclean living conditions (e.g., dirt, fleas, lice on person, soiled bedding, fecal/urine smell, inadequate clothing)
    an individual's report of being mistreated

Signs of self-neglect

    dehydration, malnutrition, untreated or improperly attended medical conditions, and poor personal hygiene
    hazardous or unsafe living conditions
    unsanitary or unclean living quarters (e.g., animal/insect infestation, no functioning toilet, fecal or urine smell)
    inappropriate and/or inadequate clothing, lack of the necessary medical aids
    grossly inadequate housing or homelessness
    inadequate medical care, not taking prescribed medications properly

Signs of exploitation

    sudden changes in bank account or banking practice, including an unexplained withdrawal of large sums of money
    adding additional names on bank signature cards
    unauthorized withdrawal of funds using an ATM card
    abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents
    unexplained disappearance of funds or valuable possessions
    bills unpaid despite the money being available to pay them
    forging a signature on financial transactions or for the titles of possessions
    sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives claiming rights to a vulnerable adult’s possessions
    unexplained sudden transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family
    providing services that are not necessary
    individual's report of exploitation Signs of abandonment
    deserting a vulnerable adult in a public place
    deserting a vulnerable adult in his/her own home or living space


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