Working together to safeguard adults with care and support needs

Signs and indications of abuse

Signs and indicators of abuse and neglect:

It is not easy to identify signs that could indicate an adult with care and support needs is being abused or neglected, especially if the person being abused or neglected is afraid to speak out.

However, there are some more common signs of abuse or neglect which if seen, may suggest that abuse has occurred


Multiple bruising or finger marks

Injuries that cannot be easily explained

Deterioration of health for no apparent reason sudden and unusual loss of weight

Inappropriate or inadequate clothing

Withdrawal or mood changes

A carer who is unwilling to allow access to the person

A person who is unwilling or unhappy about being left alone with a particular carer;

Unexplained shortage or disappearance of money. 


It is far more likely that the person responsible for the abuse or neglect is known to the adult and is in a position of trust and power.

It is important to remember that abuse or neglect can happen anywhere - for example, in someone’s own home, in a public place, in hospital, in a care home or in college. It can take place when an adult lives alone or with others.