Definitions of abuse

There are many different types of abuse:

  • physical
  • sexual
  • psychological, such as threats and harassment or denying the adult access to important relationships or their community
  • financial, such as misusing a person’s money
  • neglect, such as withholding medication or not providing regular food
  • exploitation, such as taking advantage of someone.

Many cases we see involve a family member using an adult’s money for their own purposes. In many cases this can result in nursing home fees being unpaid, or an adult living in squalor or an unsafe environment.

Any misuse of an adult’s money or assets, whatever the perceived or actual impact on the adult, is financial abuse and could be a crime. This also includes actions such as taking an extra $50 from the adult’s account when doing their shopping to ‘compensate’ for the time taken, ‘borrowing’ the adult’s money to cover personal bills because you’re ‘running a bit short’, and living in the adult’s house rent free because ‘it’s coming in the inheritance anyway’.

Other examples of abuse include (but aren’t limited to) adults being kept isolated from friends and family, not having their care needs met, or being unduly or negatively influenced to hand over money or other assets.