Different types of abuse

Physical abuse

This is when someone physically hurts you. Examples of physical abuse can be:

  • hitting
  • kicking
  • pulling hair
  • pinching or shaking, or
  • giving someone too much medication so they find it difficult to do things.

Sexual abuse

This is when someone makes you do sexual things that make you sad, angry or frightened. Sexual abuse is being touched where you do not want to be touched, such as:

  • your private parts
  • your bum
  • your breasts
  • your penis or vagina.

Or being made to touch other people in these places.

Emotional abuse

This is when people say bad things to hurt your feelings, shout at you or threaten you. Some examples of emotional abuse include:

  • calling you names
  • laughing at you
  • blaming you for things when it’s not your fault
  • treating you like a child
  • ignoring you.

Financial abuse

This is when someone takes your money or belongings without asking.
Examples of financial abuse include:

  • stealing your money
  • being forced to pay for other peoples things
  • when you don’t have a say in how your money is spent.


Neglect is when your care or support is not enough to meet your needs. Neglect can be:

  • feeling cold most of the time
  • being hungry most of the time
  • having only dirty clothes to wear
  • being put in danger

Discriminatory abuse

This is when people say or do bad things to you, or treat you unfairly because you are different. Discriminatory abuse is being treated unfairly because you:

  • have different colour skin
  • have a different religion
  • are disabled
  • are a lesbian or gay
  • speak a different language.

Or it can be because of your age.

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse includes any of types of the abuse described above, which takes place between:

  • family members
  • sexual partners
  • girlfriends and boyfriends

This can also include situations where people are forced to marry.

Modern slavery

This is when people are forced to work against their wishes, with no choice about what they do or where they live, for little or no money.

Organisational abuse

This is when you receive poor care in a care home, hospital or in your own home from someone paid to support and provide care for you.

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