Recognising abuse and exploitation

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Abuse is an intentional or unintentional act that harms, hurts or exploits another individual(s). Abuse can take many forms, but no type of abuse is acceptable.


Exploitation is the deliberate manipulation or abuse of power used to have control over another person, usually for some form of gain. This can be for a range of reasons including personal, financial or sexual.

Who could be at risk?

Although, anyone can be at risk of abuse or exploitation under the Care Act (2014), an adult at risk is someone over 18 years old who:

  • has care and support needs
  • is experiencing, or is at risk of, abuse or neglect
  • as a result of their care and support needs is unable to protect himself or herself against the abuse or neglect or the risk of it.

It is one of the responsibilities of the Torbay and Devon Safeguarding Adults Board to make sure that health and social care agencies, including Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, prioritise the wellbeing of all individuals living in Torbay and Devon. This applies to everyone, not only those people with care and support needs who are already engaged with health and social care services.

For further information on who could be at risk, visit the Torbay and Devon Safeguarding Adults Partnership website.