What is abuse? What is neglect?

Abuse can be physical, domestic, sexual and racial. Also hate crime, modern slavery and trafficking. Neglect is ongoing failure to meet someone's basic needs.

If you are concerned someone is suffering from abuse or neglect, report it.

Report a concern about a child

Report a concern about an adult


Everyone has the right to live a life free of abuse.

Abuse can take different forms, ranging from exploitation and disrespectful treatment to physical harm.

It can be at a low level, taking place over a long time, or it can take place over a short time and be more extreme. It can include:

  • physical abuse
  • domestic abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • racial abuse
  • financial abuse (including scams)
  • hate crime
  • modern slavery and trafficking

The NHS has information on abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults.


Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet someone's basic needs.

The person may be left hungry or dirty, without adequate clothing, shelter, supervision, medical or health care.

This can include neglect from people whose job it is to provide care, for example in a care home or somebody receiving care in their own home.

Someone who's neglected will often suffer from other abuse as well.

Self-neglect can also fall under this area of concern.

Neglect is dangerous and can cause serious, long-term damage - even death.

NSPCC has information on the signs, indicators and effects of neglect.

Support for sexual abuse

Synergy - Essex Partnership of Rape Crisis Centres work to raise awareness, prevent and reduce sexual violence. They offer a number of services for victims and survivors of sexual abuse and their families.

Telephone: 0300 003 7777 Email: support@synergyessex.org.uk