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Trigger Warning: Your Top 5 Indicators of Adult Abuse

Individuals experiencing abuse and neglect will not always disclose what is happening to them; this may be because of an existing relationship with the perpetrator, or communication differences.

As professionals, we all have a responsibility to identify potential indicators of abuse which we observe during our interactions with people with a learning disability or autistic people.

If you do notice any of these, you should make further assessment, considering other associated factors specific to the individual, (SCIE, 2020).

Starting off at

#5. Fear of outside intervention:

Someone you support withdraws from certain staff members or begins to unusually decline support on a regular basis. Equally, if you ask them if anything is wrong, they ask you to keep information secret, to yourself. Finding yourself in either of these scenarios could be a potential red flag that abuse or neglect is happening.

In at

#4. Humiliation:

May initially present as embarrassment over being supported in particular circumstances, for example, with personal care. However, humiliation is typically longer lasting and has a more significant psychological impact than embarrassment. You may observe individuals you support withdraw, demonstrating an intention to hide or escape.

Coming down to

#3. Feeling that abuse is their fault:

An individual you support becomes unexpectedly self-critical, more anxious or ceases to take proper self-care measures; this could be an indication that they may be experiencing abuse. If you think someone you support is displlaying these triggers, allow them time to process these emotions, and offer reassurance.

Almost at the top

#2. Isolation:

People with a learning disability and autistic people are more vulnerable to abuse, especially those receiving care services, as they are often more isolated from both family members and wider society. This isolation means they are less likely to disclose abuse. However, if you notice that an individual is becoming increasingly isolated or withdrawn, more so than usual, I recommend that you initiate further assessment.

And at #1., your top indicator of abuse and neglect

Behaviour Change and Low Self-esteem:

Any observed change in an individual’s behaviour, or usual response to a situation or person, could be a sign of abuse or neglect. The most common is withdrawal, however we also need to be aware of the reverse. Of equal concern should be someone who is generally more introverted suddenly becoming louder, more aggressive and agitated.

For further information on our courses at Levels 2 and 3 in Safeguarding Adults at Risk, please check out or feel free to get in touch,

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