Adult Abuse


Adult Abuse

Adult abuse is any action causing harm to someone over the legal age of 18. Abuse may be:

  • Financial: the misuse of a person’s funds and assets, obtaining property and funds without the owner’s knowledge and full consent, or in the case of an elderly person who is not competent, not in his/her best interests.
  • Physical: violence or rough treatment to coerce or inflict bodily harm – punching, burning, pushing, tripping, spitting.   A person doesn’t have to have an injury to have experienced physical abuse.
  • Sexual: sexual behavior directed towards a person without their full knowledge and consent. Includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, unwanted touching, or use of pornography.
  • Psychological: any act or treatment, including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.

Other forms of abuse can include over or undermedication, censoring mail, violation of civil and human rights, denial of access to visitors, or invasion or denial of privacy.

Elder abuse commonly refers to adult abuse where the target is a senior or older adult. An abuser is someone who likely to be someone known to the abused older person like a friend, family member, or caregiver.

Instances of abuse often coincide with neglect. Neglect is when lack of care, assistance, or attention leads to physical, mental or emotional harm, or loss of financial assets.

Self-neglect is the failure to care for one’s self that causes serious physical or mental harm, or damage to or loss of assets.

Community connection and awareness are keys to identifying and preventing all manners of abuse and neglect.

Our community response networks (CRNs) are groups of concerned community members who come together to coordinate community responses to reports of adult abuse, neglect, and self-neglect.

BC does not have a law saying you must report abuse, however, Part 3 of the Adult Guardianship Act says if you do make a report to a Designated Agency, the claim must be addressed and in the least intrusive way.