Basic Categories of Neglect and Abuse.

A vulnerable person is either a child, or an adult at risk of abuse and neglect . The term ‘safeguarding’ describes the action that is taken to promote the welfare of vulnerable people and protect them from harm, including the systems and measures that are put in place to ensure vulnerable people can live in safety – free from abuse and neglect. There are several different categories of abuse and neglect, including:

Physical – physical abuse is itself a wide-ranging term, which can include assault of another person, self-harm, inappropriate restraint, misuse of medication, inappropriate sanctions and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Circumstances in which a vulnerable person is deprived of their human rights and/or their liberty, and where Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards
(DoLS) are not in place, would also be classed as physical abuse

Sexual – engaging in or making someone witness sexual activity without consent. Sexual abuse can also include sexual exploitation, in which a person is sexually exploited for money, power or status

Psychological – this is sometimes referred to as emotional abuse;
examples include non-physical domestic abuse, bullying and

Neglect and acts of omission – this is the ongoing failure to meet a person’s basic needs, e.g. food and protection from hazards. It can also include ignoring someone’s care needs or failing to provide access to appropriate health, social care or educational services

Financial – examples of financial abuse include: theft, fraud, misuse of possessions, pensions or benefits, and coercion (e.g. in relation to wills/ inheritance)

Discrimination – misuse of power that denies opportunity to some groups or individuals. Discrimination becomes a safeguarding matter when the victim is a vulnerable person

Institutional – sometimes referred to as organisational abuse, this describes regime-wide abuse, neglect or mistreatment within a setting or service.

Links to additional information:

Care Act Factsheets:


Safeguarding policy, Office of the Public Guardian:

Schools, colleges and children’s services, Safeguarding children:

NHS England, Safeguarding:

Parents Protect provides services to agencies working with children and their families – for those with problematic sexual behaviour on the internet and in the ‘real world’. Parents Protect is a project of the LFF, and provides an online resource for parents, and others who want to protect children from harm

Red Balloon Learning Centres

Red Balloon supports children who self-exclude from school and are missing education because of bullying or other trauma. It provides an academic and therapeutic programme to enable its students to get back on track and reconnect with society

Leap Confronting Conflict Leap is an award-winning national youth charity that provides inspirational conflict management programmes and support to children (and young adults) and the professionals working with them

Barnardo’s sexual_exploitation/cse-professionals/cse-can-you-seeit.htm Government Guidance HM Government, What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused, advice for practitioners, March 2015 uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/419604/ What_to_do_if_you_re_worried_a_child_is_being_ abused.pdf

Department for Education, Preventing and Tackling Bullying: Advice for headteachers, staff and governing bodies, July 2017 uploads/attachment_data/file/623895/Preventing_and_ tackling_bullying_advice.pdf

Department for Education, Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Between Children in Schools and Colleges: Advice for Governing Bodies, Proprietors, Head Teachers, Principals, Senior Leadership Teams and Designated Safeguarding Leads, May 2018 uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/719902/ Sexual_violence_and_sexual_harassment_between_ children_in_schools_and_colleges.pdf

Department for Education, Working Together to Safeguard Children: A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children, July 2018 uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/729914/ Working_Together_to_Safeguard_Children-2018.pd