What is abuse?

Definition: Abuse is when someone does or says things to you that make you upset or hurt you, or when they take things from you. You may not feel able to tell people to stop hurting you or to get help. Abuse is not your fault and it is always wrong.

Abuse is not always done on purpose. Sometimes someone who is ill may strike out and abuse the carer or the person helping them. Sometimes a carer may be totally exhausted, emotionally drained and unable to cope.

  • Physical abuse: This is when someone physically hurts you.
  • Emotional abuse: This is when people say bad things to hurt your feelings or shout at you. It can include people calling you names, threatening or ignoring you. 
  • Sexual abuse: This is when someone makes you do sexual things that you don’t want to. It might be when someone touches you in places you don’t want them to or makes you touch them or have sex with them.
  • Financial abuse: This is when someone takes your money or possessions without asking or forces you to let them take things, or misuses your property, possessions or benefits. It can also be when you are not allowed to spend your own money how and when you want.
  • Neglect: This is when you are not being looked after properly. It can include being hungry, dirty or cold much of the time and not getting the support you need. It also includes not receiving appropriate health services and medication.
  • Discrimination: Everyone has the right to be treated equally and express and practice their beliefs and values. Discriminatory abuse is when someone picks on you or treats you unfairly because something about you is different. It might be because of your skin colour, a disability, your religion, gender, sexuality or your age.

Who might abuse you?

Anyone could abuse you. It could be someone you know or a stranger.


Where can it happen?

These kinds of abuse can take place anywhere, including in your own home or in institutions like care homes.

Here are some other places where abuse might happen:

  • at a day centre or college
  • at a club
  • in a hospital
  • at work

Why is abuse bad?

Adult abuse can affect people in many ways. It can severely impact on an individual’s day to day functioning, causing helplessness and hopelessness, resulting in financial difficulties, increasing dependency and a deterioration in health, quality of life and well-being.


Seeking Help

Who can I tell?

Your GP Surgery, please see our contact page

Tell someone you trust, as soon as you can, like:

  • a family member
  • the police
  • a social worker
  • a friend
  • a nurse
  • staff who support you
  • a doctor
  • a religious leader

Adult and Child Safeguarding Information – Hackney 

You can report concerns that you or someone else may be suffering from abuse, to Hackney Council’s safeguarding teams.

To report about a concern for someone aged over 18, contact Hackney Adults Safeguarding Team

On a weekend, bank holiday or a weekday after 5pm, call the out of hours service on 020 8356 2300.

To report a concern for a child or young person, contact Hackney Children and Families Services Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)

  • call 020 8356 5500 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday)
  • outside of office hours, if your concerns are urgent, you can call the Emergency Duty Team on 020 8356 2710
  • or find other options on their website

If you think someone is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

You can report concerns that you or someone else may be suffering from abuse, to Islington Council’s safeguarding teams.

To report about a concern for someone aged over 18, contact Hackney Adults Safeguarding Team


Adult and Child Safeguarding Information – Islington 

Support for abuse and safeguarding concerns

Everyone has the right to live a life free from abuse and safeguarding concerns. Find support here if you or someone you know is affected by abuse or safeguarding concerns, such as violence, domestic abuse, neglect, financial abuse, modern slavery, honour-based violence or female genital mutilation.

If you are worried about someone who may be at risk of abuse or harm, please complete the safeguarding concern form or contact the Adult Social Care first point of contact team on 020 7527 2299 or via their website

All safeguarding information can be found on the Islington Safeguarding Children’s Partnership website.

If you are worried about a child, contact Children’s Services Contact Team (CSCT) on 0207 527 7400. This is the single point of contact for all referrals and requests for services for vulnerable children and young people in the borough. Where there are significant immediate concerns about a child, you should contact the police on 999.

All referrals should be followed up with a Request for Service form to Children's Social Care.


What will happen next?

Once you make contact with the Safeguarding Team, they will:

  • listen to you and take your concerns seriously
  • help you stay safe
  • understand that you may be afraid to talk about abuse
  • give you information so that you can decide what should happen next and you  understand what kind of help and support is available to you
  • keep you up-to-date with what is happening

Hackney is making safeguarding personal. We know everyone is different and will need a different approach and follow on support, depending on their situation and circumstances.

You can also choose to have a person you trust with you, such as a family member, personal assistant or advocate.