Types of abuse

 

What does elder abuse look like?

There are different types of abuse, and commonly several types occur together. These include:

Psychological abuse

Behaviour causing mental anguish, stress or fear.  For example:

  • ridicule or threats
  • harassment or humiliation
  • preventing choice or decision-making
  • withholding affection.

Financial abuse

Illegal or improper use of money, property or other assets.  For example:

  • unauthorised taking of money or possessions
  • misuse of power of attorney
  • failure to repay loans
  • use of home and/or utilities without contributing to costs
  • scams that rely on establishing a relationship with the older person with the intention of exploiting their savings and/or assets, e.g. romance scams.

Physical abuse

Infliction of pain, injury or use of force.  For example:

  • hitting, pushing, rough handling
  • over-medication
  • inappropriate use of restraints or confinement.

Neglect

Not providing for physical, emotional or social needs. For example:

  • inadequate food, clothing, shelter
  • lack of social contact, support
  • health needs not attended to.

Sexual abuse

Non-consensual sexual acts or exploitive behaviours. For example:

  • inappropriate touching
  • sexual acts with someone unable to give consent.

Institutional abuse

A policy or accepted practice within an organisation that disregards a person’s rights or causes harm. For example:

  • lack of respect for a person’s culture or customs
  • Inappropriate rationing of continence products
  • inflexible routines e.g. breakfast at 8 am in the dining room.

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