It's not always easy to spot the signs of abuse.

The person being abused or neglected may be too scared to speak up about it, especially if they know the person who's abusing them.

They may try to hide the fact that they're being abused, by making excuses about their bruises, why they don't want to go out or talk to people, or  why they're short of money.

Watch out for the common signs that suggest a person may have been abused:

  • multiple bruising or finger marks
  • injuries that can't be explained
  • deterioration of health for no apparent reason
  • looking unkempt, dirty or thinner than usual
  • inappropriate or inadequate clothing
  • withdrawal or mood changes
  • a carer who's unwilling to allow access to the person
  • not wanting to be left on their own with certain people
  • being unusually light-hearted and insisting there's nothing wrong

What to do if you think someone's being abused

If you spot any of the above, talk to the person you think is being abused to see if there's anything you can do to help.

  • Always listen carefully.
  • Make a note of what's happened or what you're worried about.
  • If you're an adult who's being abused, or think you may be, talk to someone you trust or contact us.
  • If an adult at risk confides in you, ask their permission to contact us or the police if a criminal offence is suspected.
  • If you're a paid carer or volunteer, tell your manager or another manager in your agency.
  • If the person denies abuse, but the signs are still there and you're still worried, share your concerns with us.

What happens next?

We will listen and take you seriously. We'll help decide which the most appropriate agency to work with you is. We can visit you or the adult at risk and find out what's happening. We'll work with you to investigate and establish the facts. If necessary, we can help you to report the abuse to the police or other agencies who may be able to help with an investigation.

Together with other agencies we can make plans to help you feel safer, and improve your wellbeing. If necessary, we can help you to report the abuse to the police. We can help with any communication difficulties you may have because of your disability or illness.

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