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Abuse in Health and Social Care

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Abuse in Health and Social Care

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  • July 2011
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1.1 What is abuse?
Abuse is the infringement of an individual's human and civil rights by another individual or persons. The following is the definition of abuse in The Protection for Persons in Care Act (PPCA). In this statement, "abuse" is defined as mistreatment, whether physical, sexual, mental, emotional, and financial or a combination of any of them, that is reasonably likely to cause death or that causes or is reasonably likely to cause serious physical or psychological harm to a person, or significant loss to the person's property.

Abuse of a person often includes behavior that is abusive in one or more of the categories outlined on the following pages. In particular, the majority of people who are experiencing abuse of any kind will also be experiencing psychological abuse.

General indicators of an abusive relationship often include the misuse of power by one person over another and are most likely to be found in situations where one person has power over another. For example, where one person is dependent on another for their physical care or due to power relationships in society (such as, between a professional worker and a service user, a man and a woman or a person of the dominant race/culture and a person of an ethnic minority).

Abuse may consist of a single act or repeated acts. It may be physical, verbal or psychological, it may be an act of neglect or an omission to act or it may occur when a vulnerable person is persuaded to enter into a financial or sexual transaction to which he or she had not consented or cannot consent. Abuse can occur in any relationship and may result in significant harm to or exploitation of the person subjected to it.

It is essential to be alert to signals or non-verbal communication or challenging behavior, and to be aware this could indicate unacceptable practice that is being deliberately hidden or denied.

1.1.1 Types of abuse
There are different forms of abuse and these are described below: •...