Signs and Indicators of Abuse

You may become concerned that someone is being abused in a number of ways:

  • the person may tell you
  • the person may say something that worries you
  • you may see something – an incident or an injury or other sign


What might cause concern?

You might see and/or hear something happen:

  • someone being bullied or intimidated
  • someone being made to feel frightened or unhappy
  • someone in a situation of unnecessary risk


The person might tell you or say something that worries you. Somebody might tell you something or say something that gives cause for concern, for example:

  • a colleague
  • family member
  • member of the public


There might be physical signs or unexplained or unusual injuries:

  • bruises
  • slap marks
  • black eyes
  • bleeding
  • burns or scalding
  • cigarette marks
  • torn, stained or bloodstained clothes


There may be other signs such as:

  • inappropriate dirty or soiled clothes
  • no food or drink available for the person
  • bills not being paid or services, e.g. telephone, cut off
  • shortage of money


The person might say things or behave in a way that causes you concerns:

  • the person may seem unhappy or distressed
  • the person may appear frightened, anxious or agitated without identifiable cause, or in relation to certain people
  • sleeping problems
  • constant visits to the toilet without a medical reason
  • other unexplained changes in how the person behaves


The behaviour of a colleague or other person:

  • dismissive or intolerant attitude
  • task/routine orientated rather than person focussed
  • not a team player; insists on doing tasks on their own or their way/secretive about contact with clients
  • oversteps their professional boundaries with clients and colleagues/overfriendly neglects professional development


You may not know. It is enough that you are worried.