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What is abuse and neglect?

The following provides a list of behaviours, examples and case studies to help identify abuse and neglect.

Sexual abuse

Behaviours

  • Non-consensual sexual contact, language or exploitative behaviour;
  • Rape and sexual assault;
  • Cleaning or treating the person’s genital area roughly or inappropriately;
  • Enforced nudity of the person against their consent.

Warning sings to observe

  • Unexplained STD or incontinence (bladder or bowel);
  • Injury and trauma, e.g. scratches, bruises etc. to face, neck, chest, abdomen, thighs or buttocks;
  • Trauma including bleeding around the genitals, chest, rectum or mouth;
  • Torn or bloody underclothing or bedding;
  • Human bite marks;
  • Anxiety around the perpetrator and other psychological symptoms

Sexual abuse case study

Tess is a 55 year old woman with a physical disability. She lives in a flat adjoining her daughter, Jackie and son-in-law John’s property, and her rent is paid for by John.

Unbeknownst to Jackie, John has been making unwelcomed visits to Tess. John exposes himself and talks about what he would like to do with Tess in a sexually explicit way. John threatens that if Tess tells her daughter, he will stop covering her rent.

Tess wants to tell her daughter and move away, but worries it will ruin their relationship and will affect her living arrangements.

Behaviours

  • John is exposing himself, using sexually explicit language and threatening Tess.

Signs

  • Tess is anxious around John and avoids being alone whenever possible.
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Last updated: 02 Dec 2019