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Psychological/ Emotional Abuse

This is behaviour that has a harmful effect on the person’s emotional health and development or any form of mental cruelty that results in:

  • mental distress
  • the denial of basic human and civil rights such as self-expression, privacy and dignity
  • negating the right of the adult at risk to make choices and undermining their self-esteem
  • isolation and over-dependence that has a harmful effect on the person’s emotional health, development or well-being.

The Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE) list the following types of psychological or emotional abuse:

  • Enforced social isolation – preventing someone accessing services, educational and social opportunities and seeing friends
  • Removing mobility or communication aids or intentionally leaving someone unattended when they need assistance
  • Preventing someone from meeting their religious and cultural needs
  • Preventing the expression of choice and opinion
  • Failure to respect privacy
  • Preventing stimulation, meaningful occupation or activities
  • Intimidation, coercion, harassment, use of threats, humiliation, bullying, swearing or verbal abuse
  • Addressing a person in a patronising or infantilising way
  • Threats of harm or abandonment
  • Cyber bullying

Possible indicators of psychological or emotional abuse:

  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sleep
  • Unexpected or unexplained change in behaviour
  • Low self esteem

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