Abuse is unfortunately a part of many people’s lives all over the world and the UK is no exception. Recent reports show that abuse can happen in all walks of life including the workplace with more than 685,000 violent incidents occurring in the most recent data. The home is another place where abuse occurs with an estimated 5% of the UK population suffering from this at one point in the year ending March 2022.
This topic can be a tricky one to navigate, especially if it’s one of your friends or family members that is being abused. You’ll want to make sure you know how to spot the different signs of abuse and what you can do about it. Dealing with abusers can be even more difficult in some situations too as it can put the victim in even more danger, which is why knowing how to navigate your reporting of this abuse is important.
There are countless forms of abuse but every one of them should end up with the same outcome: the abuser being punished for their crimes. To learn how you can do this and spot the signs of abuse, then we’ve prepared a helpful guide, which we hope will aid you in getting your friend or family member the justice they deserve. Read on to find out more.
Forms of abuse
As we previously mentioned, abuse comes in many forms, which makes spotting it difficult in some instances. Here are some of the examples of abuse that your friends or family members may be suffering from:
- Physical Abuse: If someone intentionally causes bodily harm to or injury to another person. Examples: kicking, slapping, choking, pinching, shoving, or inappropriate use of drugs.
- Emotional Abuse: When someone deliberately causes emotional or mental pain. Examples: harassment, coercion, intimidation, ridiculing, isolating an adult from friends, family, or different activities, treating an adult like a child, yelling, or use of silence to regulate behavior.
- Sexual Abuse: Making sexual contact with a person without having her or his consent. Examples: unwanted touching, sodomy, rape, sexually explicit photographing, or coerced nudity.
- Financial Abuse or Exploitation: When someone uses another vulnerable person’s income and resources to gain profits. Examples: Illegal withdrawal of money from a person’s account, stealing valuable things from a vulnerable adult person’s house, or falsifying checks.
- Neglect: When a person deprives a vulnerable adult of the necessary care through his or her action or inaction. Examples: Not providing fundamental essential items, including water, food, clothing, medicine, or a safe place for living.
How can you identify the signs of abuse?
There are many ways to spot abuse in your friends and family members. Look out for the signs of abuse to make sure you can support your friends and family members and intervene as soon as possible:
Signs of Physical Abuse:
- Black eyes, brushes, lacerations, welts, and rope marks
- Cuts, open wounds, holes, and raw injuries in numerous stages of healing
- Laboratory tests showing underdose or overdose of medications
- Sudden change in behavior of the vulnerable adults
- The report of an individual being slapped, hit, or kicked
- Broken bones
- Broken frames or sunglasses
Signs of Emotional Abuse:
- Being non-responsive or non-communicative
- Being agitated or awfully distressed
- Unusual behaviors that refer to dementia
- The report of an individual being mentally and/ or verbally mistreated
- Nervousness around specific people
Signs of Sexual Abuse:
- Mysterious anal or vaginal bleeding
- Bruises around the genital area and breasts
- Stained, bloody, or torn underclothing
- Mysterious genital infections or venereal diseases
- The report of an individual being raped or sexually assaulted
Signs of Financial Abuse:
- Unexpected changes in banking practice or bank account, including mysterious withdrawal of a large amount of money
- Unauthorized fund withdrawal using someone’s ATM card
- Mysterious disappearances of valuable possessions or funds
- Unexpected changes in any financial document
- Adding extra names on the signature cards of someone’s bank account
- Falsifying a signature during financial transactions.
- Unexpected and mysterious transfer of assets to a person outside the family or to a family member
- Providing unnecessary services
- The report of an individual regarding exploitation.
Signs of Neglect:
- Untreated or unattended health issues
- Malnutrition, dehydration, poor personal hygiene, and untreated or inadequately attended medical circumstances
- Exceptionally insufficient housing or homelessness
- Inadequate and/or inappropriate clothing, deficiency of the essential medical aids
- Inadequate consumption of medications and medical care.
These are some common signs of abuse. You may find different other types of abuse. If you identify any of the above-mentioned signs of abuse, take effective action to stop abuses.
If you’ve spotted these signs in someone you’re close to then try to help them take action to set things right. Make sure you don’t push them too hard, though, as this can make them draw away from you.
- Support the victim – be there for them in their time of need. They’ll let you know how much support they need and it’s important to respect these boundaries.
- Report the abuse – tell the authorities about this as they may be able to get the abuser away from your loved one even sooner.
- Help them develop a safety plan – they’ll want to make sure that this never happens again and so coming up with a safety plan can prevent this from happening. This may also be a good time for them to make an abuse claim as this can help them get their life back on track.
How can you intervene safely?
Before intervening, the safety of you and your friend or family member should always be the priority. Start by making sure they’re comfortable with taking action and then make sure they’re far away from the abuser once actions begin. This should keep them free from any further danger whilst the relevant authorities get to work.
Abuse is never a nice position for anyone to be in and we understand that you’ll want to act fast to get your loved ones out of harm’s way. However, this can sometimes make things worse, so take our advice above and only act when the victim is ready and together, you should be able to navigate this extremely difficult and sensitive situation.