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Physical abuse

Physical abuse is physical force or mistreatment of one person by another which might or might not cause physical injury. An adult may have an increased risk to physical abuse by their personal characteristics or life circumstances. 

Their personal characteristics may include 

  • age 
  • physical or mental disabilities 
  • special educational needs 
  • any illness, mental or physical they may have 

Their life circumstances may include 

  • isolation or loneliness 
  • finances and work 
  • living conditions 

This type of abuse includes 

  • hitting 
  • pushing 
  • rough handling 
  • exposure to heat or cold 
  • force feeding 
  • improper administration of medication 
  • denial of treatment 
  • misuse or illegal use of restraint 
  • not being allowed to go where you wish, when you wish 


The abuser could be in a close relationship with the adult at risk. They could be someone the adult at risk depends on and trusts. 

An abuser could be 

  • a partner 
  • a relative or other family member 
  • a person entrusted to act on behalf of the adult in some aspect of their affairs 
  • a service or care provider 
  • a neighbour 
  • a health or social care worker or professional 
  • an employer 
  • a volunteer or another service user 
  • a person or people who have no previous connection to the victim 

Signs of physical abuse are 

  • fractures 
  • bruising 
  • burns 
  • pain 
  • marks 
  • not wanting to be touched 

If you are concerned about an adult who is suffering from physical abuse 

Report a concern 

Adult Social Services Safeguarding Adults Team 
Telephone: 01708 433550
Fax: 01708 432497