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  • Failure to provide basic needs, i.e. food, adequate or clean clothing, heating, medicines;
  • Under- or over-medicating;
  • Exposure to danger or lack of supervision, such as leaving the person in an unsafe place or in isolation;
  • An overly attentive carer in the company of others;
  • Refusal to permit others to provide appropriate care.

Warning signs to observe

  • Inadequate clothing, complaints of being cold or too hot;
  • Poor personal hygiene, unkempt appearance;
  • Lack of medical or dental care, or injuries that have not been properly cared for;
  • Absence of required aids;
  • Exposure to unsafe, unhealthy, and /or unsanitary conditions;
  • Unexplained weight loss, dehydration, poor skin integrity, malnutrition

Neglect case study

Sarah is a 35 year old woman. She has an intellectual disability and other chronic illnesses. She lives in social housing with her Mum, Jan, who is her carer and Power of Attorney.

Jan has cancelled Sarah’s disability services. Sarah’s clothes are soiled and dirty and she appears to have lost weight.


  • Jan has cancelled disability services.


  • Sarah has lost weight and has soiled, dirty clothes.
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Last updated: 24 Sep 2019