Types Of Physical Abuse

Table of contents

Safeguarding is the term we use to protect adults and children that are vulnerable to abuse or neglect. In children it is about protecting them from neglect, violent or cruel treatment, (maltreatment/abuse). Making sure no harm comes to the child’s development (Physical, intelligence, language, emotional and social) or health. Also, ensuring the supply of safe and effective care for the child to grow up in. For adults it is about protecting their human rights, health and wellbeing. Helping them to feel safe from neglect and abuse, making sure their beliefs, views, wishes, feelings and wellbeing is supported and respected when agreeing on an action.

Explain own role and responsibilities in safeguarding individuals.

As a clinical support worker and those who work in health and social care, it is our responsibility to work in a way to prevent any neglect, maltreatment and abuse. Ensuring support, good quality care and making sure the individual is the centre of everything, giving them empowerment over their own life and much control as possible over their actions. We can also be the ones who raises concerns over the individuals safeguarding. It may be something we see, hear or witness an event to which we would speak up as its our duty of care.

Define the following terms:

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is an act of intent to cause harm, injury or trauma to another individual. It is a non-accidental act and is done with the intent and purpose to cause physical suffering by way of bodily contact; punching, shaking, suffocating, burning someone, scratching and biting. Physical abuse can also be indirect, an indirect example could be spitting, even if the spit doesn’t directly hit you it is still deemed a physical act. Throwing an object or pulling someone’s hair is still seen as an aggressive, physical act with a knowing intention. Another factor of physical abuse is one we may not necessarily think of, this entails forcing someone (by possibly pinching their nose and opening their mouth) to swallow something that will harm them like, chemicals or medication that the individual may not need.

Domestic Abuse:

Domestic abuse can also be known as a domestic violence. It relates to anyone over the age of 16, regardless of gender or sexuality, being violated or abused by family members, intimate partners in a marriage or in co-habitation. As a rule, domestic abuse usually has a pattern, happening more than once. These patterns include any acts of intimidation, threats, coercive controls, sexual violence and degrading, physically, verbally abusive behaviour. Most individuals affected by domestic violence are females who have been targeted by men. Other forms of domestic abuse in any country can include female genital mutilation, marital rape, dowry deaths and acid throwing.

Sexual Abuse:

Sexual abuse is when someone is tricked, forced or pressured into any type of sexual activity with another person. This includes being touched without consent or permission in a way you don’t like; Someone exposing themselves or flashing at you; Being forced to look at sexual videos or pictures; Forced to have intercourse; Made to watch someone do something sexual to themselves or being forced to do something sexual to yourself. Sexual abuse also includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, online grooming, sexual exploitation (being pressured into sex for materialistic gain, drugs and financial gain), forced sexting and pornography.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse:

Emotional/Psychological abuse is a non-physical behaviour which could include isolation, confinement, manipulation, humiliation, verbal aggression, intimidation and infantilization (treating an individual as if they were still a child). This leads to a behavioural pattern over time, aimed to diminish another person’s dignity, self-worth and sense of identity. This often results in the person suffering depression, suicidal behaviour or thoughts, anxiety and PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)

Financial/Material Abuse:

Financial/Material abuse includes internet scamming, theft, fraud, coercion related to an adult’s arrangement or financial affairs, including in connection with property, wills, financial transactions, benefits, possessions, inheritance of misappropriation of property. The care act of 2014 outlines financial abuse as being defrauded, including having property or money stolen, having pressure put upon someone regarding money or other property and having other property or money misused. When defining financial abuse, it has many elements. It is often associated or involves someone misusing or taking some one else’s belongings or money for their gain, disadvantaging, depriving or harming someone, control over someone’s access to money purchases, often connected with other forms of maltreatment and will not always involve a crime like fraud of theft

Modern Slavery:

Modern slavery is the receiving of men, women or children through recruitment, harbouring or movement using vulnerability, force, coercion, persuasion and deception for exploitation (benefitting from some ones work and treating them unfairly). Modern slavery today is more about being controlled completely and exploited by someone. An individual is in slavery if they have restrictions or constraints placed on their freedom physically sold as a piece of property and treated as an item made to be dehumanised. Being made to work through force of coercion, physical or mental threats. Controlled and trapped by an employer because of physical, mental abuse or threats of abuse. Types of modern slavery are forced labour is where someone is forced to work against their will under the threat or a form of punishment. Bonded labour is where a debt is required to be worked off as it could not be payed off back. Human trafficking involves harbouring, transporting or recruiting people for the purpose of maltreatment, using threats, coercion or violence. Descent based slavery is being born into slavery because of ancestors that have been enslaved and captured child slavery is when a child is taken advantage of for someone else’s gain. It can include child soldiers, child trafficking, child domestic slavery and child marriage. Forced and early marriage is when a child or adult is married against their wishes and is not able to leave that marriage.

Discriminatory Abuse:

Discriminatory abuse is inflicting harsh and authoritarian attitudes towards people on the grands of the nine protected characteristics from the equality act 2010. They are; age, race, disability, gender/gender identity/reassignment, belief or religion, political beliefs or sexual orientations, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity. Types of discrimination include direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, discrimination by association, discrimination by perception and victimisation and harassment. The abuser may think the person is different and stranger than others.

Institutional/Organisational Abuse:

Institutional/Organisational abuse is maltreatment of a person from a system of power. Poor care, practice and neglect within a specified care setting. This can also be the care you receive in your own home, care home or hospital. An institution is outside and somewhere away from family, which is controlled and managed by unknown people to the family, or a company. Institutions where abuse has been known to occur are club/leisure premises e.g. school halls, scout huts, schools, care homes, prisons, churches, other religious establishments, sports buildings, stables, swimming pools and holiday huildings.


Self neglect is failing to care for one self’s basic needs by being unable to, refusing to or neglecting to seek help for medical issues when they arise; failing to take care of personal hygiene. A behavioural condition to neglect themselves or their surroundings. Self-neglect could be a well-established pattern or a neglect change and connected to loss, low self esteem and post trauma. Lack of self-care could get to such a point that it threatens personal safety and health, becoming incapable of avoiding harm and unwillingness to take fair of their own personal affairs.

Neglect by Others:

Neglect by others is from any person who is in charge, has responsibility, custody or care of a child or adult to provide the type and care that a responsible person would be expected to provide. Neglect is isolating a person or ignoring them, failing to give or provide medicine as prescribed, giving or providing care in a way the person does not like, failure or refusal of visitor access, failing to take into account the social recreational and educational needs of the individual, failing to provide dignity and privacy, not allowing them to hearing aids, dentures and glasses. Not allowing that person to make their own decisions. Failing to consider a person’s religious ethnical or cultural needs. Failing to allow access or provide shelter, heating, food, activity stimulation and medical care. Intentional neglect is done deliberately or on purpose and unintentional is not done on purpose. This could mean the care giver or parent lacks education/ knowledge/ understanding/ mental ability and money meaning they can not provide for the individual and the care they should have and need.

Describe Harm

Harm is usually a word that described pain, injury and death. This can also include non-physical cruelty such as financial and emotional abuse. Physical harm, when a person purposely hurts someone else by slapping, shaking, kicking, punching, hitting them with an object and throwing objects at them. Harm can also be sexual and would involve forcing some form of sexual act on an individual who does not want it. Neglect is a different type of harm which is failing to take proper care of someone. Psychological harm involves making threats to an individual about something or someone that matters to them. Financial harm includes fraud, theft, pressure to sign or hand over money or property, misuse of government benefits or of property, stopping someone obtaining their possessions or money, being swindled by deceitful and unreliable traders, online scams, bye phone, email, or post. Self-harm is when an individual intentionally injures or damages their own body and is usually the way of them coping with or showing overwhelming emotional distress.

Describe Restrictive Purposes

Restrictive practice is any method that controls the right of freedom and movement of an individual. This refers to any procedures that may be used to stop someone acting independently. Restrictive practices could include seclusion, putting a person in a place or room that they cannot leave when they want to. They could be placed in their any time of the day or night and for any length of time. Containment by locking doors, gates and windows making sure an individual cannot physically leave that place. The use of medication could be used to control an individual. With the aim of controlling a person’s behaviour is physical restraint, mechanical restraints by a device may also be used to restrict free movement of an individual and stop self-inflicted behaviour. Limiting a person’s access to objects, such as knives in a kitchen draw. This would be restricted access to prevent an adult causing harm to themselves or another. A restrictive intervention should only have the purpose of taking control of a dangerous situations, and only to limit that person’s freedom for no longer than is needed, to reduce or end a high threat to themselves or others.

Know How to Recognise Signs of Abuse

1) Identify the signs and/or symptoms associate with each of the following types of abuse:

Physical Abuse:

Physical abuse are often physical in nature and may include, burns, black eyes, restraint or grip markings, cuts, bruises; repeated trips to the hospital with an unusual pattern of injuries, most individuals may try to cover these up; Fear from the abuser or shame of the abuse, fractures, broken bones, swelling, breathing, problems, welts, vomiting, seizures and being unconscious or extremely sleepy. Physical abuse can lead to an individual being with-drawn or socially isolated, suffer depression, anxiety, panic attacks, even PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder), vague medical complaints, such as stomach pain and headaches, fearfulness, they may start abusing drugs or alcohol, vaginal or pelvic pain, UTI (urinary track infections) even an unwanted pregnancy. Children suffering physical abuse may run away, self-harm, have little or no self-esteem, trouble eating and sleeping, showing signs of anger, being unable to concentrate on school work or tasks, feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.

Domestic Abuse:

Domestic abuse also shows the same signs and symptoms of physical abuse. They are most likely to have reoccurring bruises or physical injuries consistent with being knocked down, pushed, punched, having hair pulled, bites and will mostly have an inconsistent or weak explanation for their injuries. Signs of physical abuse will include, black eyes, busted lips, sprained wrist, red or purple marks around the neck, bruises on arms, legs and back. It is also common for the individual to try and cover up the physical signs with clothes. This may be done by wearing long sleeves or scarves and trousers on hot summer days, wearing sunglasses on a cloudy on rainy days and heavier makeup, low self-esteem, seeming fearful; depression, anxiety, agitation, constant apprehension, being extremely apologetic or meek, talking about or attempting suicide, loss of interest in activities, sleeping too much or too little, showing constant state of alertness to a point they can not completely relax, distant and reserved, isolating them-selves and cutting contact with family and friends, also cancelling appointments and becoming quiet and withdrawn.

Domestic violence isn’t just physical there is emotional/physical abuse too. This comes in the form of mind control. Being told what to wear, how to look, throwing things or punching walls, threats of being killed and threatening to do it to someone close to them; being anticized, accusations of affairs , being shouted at, making them small, control of money by keeping cash or cards away for them, having only a set amount of money and having to explain every pound they have spent, not letting them have money for basic needs like clothes or food, stopping them from working in a job they want, keeping tabs on their partner by asking where their going and who with; embarrassing them in front of friends and family; abandoning them in a place they don’t know , being locked in or out of their own home, keeping them from sleeping or eating, forcing them to have sex, having them dress in a sexual way, making them feel that they owe sex and wont use condoms. So other signs of domestic abuse would be someone constantly checking in with their partner, being overly worried about pleasing them and never having any money on hand.

Sexual Abuse:

Sexual abuse may not be clearly visible with out examination of the genitals. Psychical examination of the genitals may show signs of bite marks, chafing, bruising, scars, anal dilation or tears, bleeding or discharge from the vagina and/or anus, possible sexual infection (STI) such as syphilis, warts, gonorrhoea, chlamydia or HIV. Children wont often talk about sexual abuse because they believe that it is their fault or are convinced the abuse is normal or a special secret. They may worry about getting the abuser into trouble as they care for them. Children may also have been threatened by the abuser, bribed or told no one will believe them. So we would look out for behavioural changes in a child which could include aggression, having difficulties sleeping, bed wetting, regular nightmares, become withdrawn, clingy, seem to dislike a particular person and try to avoid spending any alone time with them, display signs of being over sexualized using sexually explicit language and behaving in a sexually unsuitable way, dropping hints and clues about the abuse but not revealing it outright, difficulty concentrating and learning at school and grades starting to drop, running away , self-harm, unexplained money and gifts, having a new older friend, fear of a particular place. Victims of sexual abuse will suffer depression, isolation from normal activities, friends and family, become obsessive about hygiene, anxiety, over pleasing, low self-esteem, become self-destructive, possible alcohol and drug abuse, become more promiscuous, difficulty developing close relationships, obsessive compulsive behaviour (such as excessive hand washing, bathing, teeth brushing due to constantly feeling dirty), eating disorders (such as anorexia, binge eating or bulimia).

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