Who is Vulnerable?
An individual with a learning disability or mental heath problems. A disabled individual
Anyone who is different
Who may abuse?
Paid staff or volunteers
Neighbors, friends or others in the vulnerable adults/children network. What may make you suspicious?
A change in an individual’s behavior, such as withdrawing, self harm, aggressiveness, conflict of stories, fear or abusive towards others etc. Unexplained injuries, such as bruising, abrasions, cuts, bed sores, scars or broken bones. Physical appearance, such as unwashed, dirty/soiled clothes or unkempt. Covering up in an attempt to hide injuries etc. Weight loss through malnutrition, unexpected or prolonged illness. Poorly dressed, no money for activities, reduction in savings or unexplained withdraws from bank accounts. Little food or low quality foods in home.
Identifying Types of Abuse
Physical This can include actual physical harm to another through beating, hitting, kicking, punching or slapping. Sexual This involves any nonconsensual intimate touching, sexual acts or verbal sexual innuendo towards another person. Emotional/psychological Sometimes hard to identify, this form of abuse can include: threats or humiliating behavior, putting someone down, ‘telling them they are worthless’ or removing aids such as walking sticks or frames etc. Financial Inappropriate use of an individual’s funds for the purpose of financial gain. Borrowing or theft of an individual’s money, use of carers loyalty card/s when shopping for an individual and falsifying financial records for an individual. Self Neglect This refers to self abuse of which there are two types; active (intentional) which refers to a conscious choice to self neglect and passive (non-intentional) which result to a health related condition which contributes to the risk of developing self neglect. In addition it is important to remember that failure to act upon observation of self neglect could be seen as a failure in our duty of care. Institutional Typically, this form of abuse occurs in care/respite homes, hospitals or other in patient/service user settings and can include all or some of the above. Neglect by Others may include failure to provide sufficient supervision, medical care, nourishment or failure to meet the needs of an individual, helpless to provide for himself/herself. Identifying Signs or Symptoms of Abuse
Physical Often easier to identify would be: bruises, cuts, burns, grip marks or other unusual and unexplained visual marks or indicators of non-accidental trauma to the body or skin. In addition, an individual may be covering a part of their body that they would not usually, for example, use of a scarf to cover their neck etc. An individual may show signs of pain when they move a limb where they have not done so before. This may indicate a sprain or worse still a broken bone/s. Finally, and not so easily recognized, may be a change in mood, individual becoming withdrawn, showing signs of fear or fear around a certain person or becoming depressed and refusing activities for example. Sexual As with most forms of abuse, a carer or supporter with a good knowledge of the individual they look after is an advantage when observing and identifying behaviors not historically common to that individual. Obvious signs to raise suspicion would be for example, ripped clothes, torn, stained or bloody underclothes. An individual may also be in pain, have bruising or other trauma around genitals or breasts. This however, may only become obvious when delivering personal care. In addition, the individual may become unusually agitated whilst carer is delivering personal care. Sexual abuse can also effect an individual’s presentation, cause changes in behavioral patterns such as becoming withdrawn but also similarly, the carer may see unexplained sexual behaviors in the person they are caring for....
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