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Psychological and Emotional Abuse

Psychological and Emotional Abuse – What is it?

Psychological and emotional abuse is acts that undermine a person’s sense of identity, dignity or self respect.  This form of abuse often involves verbal assaults that humiliate, intimidate or isolate a person. It can lead to personality changes, depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.

Psychological and emotional abuse may include:

  • 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 their 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.


Who it happens to and who are the perpetrators

Anyone can experience abuse regardless of ethnicity, age, sexuality, disability, religion or class. However, for people who are vulnerable due to a care or support need they may face additional barriers to seeking help.

If abuse happens between people who are in an intimate relationship, or are related, this is domestic violence.

The perpetrator is likely to be someone who is known to the adult and has regular contact with them, such as a:

  • Partner
  • Friend
  • Relative
  • Carer
  • Neighbour
  • Other resident in a residential care home setting.

Possible signs of psychological and emotional abuse

  • An air of silence when a particular person is present
  • Withdrawal or change in the psychological state of the person
  • Insomnia
  • Low self-esteem
  • Uncooperative and aggressive behaviour
  • A change of appetite, weight loss/gain
  • Signs of distress: tearfulness, anger
  • Apparent false claims, by someone involved with the person, to attract unnecessary treatment.

If you are worried that you or an adult you know is being abused report it now, call 01375 511000.

Email: Thurrock.First@thurrock.gov.uk

Children witnessing abuse is child abuse – if you are concerned about a child report it now, call 01375 652 802.

Outside of office hours call: 01375 372 468.

Worried about an adult? 01375 511000

Get in touch

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