Possible signs of harm

The potential for harm to occur will rise in situations where there is an imbalance of power within relationships.  Sometimes it may be obvious when an adult is experiencing harm or potential harm, however, on other occasions it may be less obvious.

Some signs of harm include:

  • unexplained or unusual injuries
  • a delay in seeking treatment for injuries or illness
  • sudden increase in confusion
  • unexplained deterioration in the adult's health or neglected appearance
  • the adult being anxious, afraid or withdrawn
  • misuse of medication, such as not giving medicines properly
  • pressure by family or professionals to have someone moved into or taken out of care
  • being frightened of someone
  • hostile or unkind behaviour towards the adult
  • unexplained debt, not paying bills for services
  • not having basic needs met, such as adequate food or heating
  • not being provided with information on rights or entitlements, or being misinformed
  • harassment about age, gender, disability, race, colour, sexual or religious orientation
  • another person using possessions, bank account or property without the adult's informed consent
  • the adult not receiving care or information, which would protect them from harm
  • self harm wounds to body, for example cuts to legs and/or arms 

Remember, there are other signs of harm that are not included in the list above.

If you know or suspect an adult is being harmed, you must tell someone. Call Social Work immediately who will listen to what you have to say and then decide what action should be taken.