What is Abuse?

Abuse occurs when a person treats another vulnerable person (child, adult, or animal) with cruelty or violence, especially regularly or repeatedly.

Types of Abuse

Physical abuse is intentional bodily injury. Some examples include slapping, pinching, choking, kicking, shoving, or inappropriately using drugs or physical restraints. 
Sexual abuse is nonconsensual sexual contact (any unwanted sexual contact). Examples include unwanted touching, rape, sodomy, coerced nudity, sexually explicit photographing.
Mental mistreatment or emotional abuse is deliberately causing mental or emotional pain. Examples include intimidation, coercion, ridiculing, harassment, treating an adult like a child, isolating an adult from family, friends, or regular activity, use of silence to control behavior, and yelling or swearing which results in mental distress. 
Exploitation occurs when a vulnerable child or adult or his/her resources or income are illegally or improperly used for another person’s profit or gain. Examples include illegally withdrawing money out of another person’s account, forging checks, or stealing things out of the vulnerably adult’s house. 
Neglect occurs when a person, either through his/her action or inaction, deprives a vulnerable child or adult of the care necessary to maintain the vulnerable child or adult’s physical or mental health. Examples include not providing basic items such as food, water, clothing, a safe place to live, medicine, or health care. 
Self-neglect occurs when a vulnerable person (child or adult) fails to provide adequately for themselves and jeopardizes his/her well-being. Examples include a vulnerable adult living in hazardous, unsafe, or unsanitary living conditions or not having enough food or water. 
Abandonment occurs when a vulnerable person (child or adult) is left without the ability to obtain necessary food, clothing, shelter or health care. Examples include deserting a vulnerable adult in a public place or leaving a vulnerable adult at home without the means of getting basic life necessities.

Signs of Abuse

Click on each type of abuse for more information about its signs.