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A carer is someone who spends a significant proportion of their time providing unpaid support to a family member, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.

It's not always easy to spot the symptoms of abuse. Someone being abused may make excuses for why they're bruised, they don't want to go out or talk to people, or they're short of money.

It's important to know the signs of abuse and, where they are identified, gently share your concerns with the person being abused. If you wait, hoping the person will tell you what's been happening to them, you could delay matters and allow the abuse to continue.

To find out more go to our ‘Recognising and Reporting Abuse’ page. This page tells you the different forms of abuse they may be experiencing, and who and where to contact if you are concerned.

The risk of deterioration in carers’ health and well-being as a result of their caring duties is well-understood. This can be seen as the ‘price of caring’. However, sometimes the behaviour of the person being cared for, intentionally or not, can fall in the category of abuse. Responding to carers who may be at risk of harm can be challenging and can be complicated by a carers’ denial, guilt or a sense of shame in asking for help.

Risk of abuse can increase where the carer is isolated and not getting practical and/or emotional support from their family, friends, professionals or paid carers.

Carer abuse/harm is more likely to occur when communication and relationships are difficult and, in particular where one/some of the following issues affect the person cared for:-

  • Has health and care needs that exceed the carer’s ability to meet them; especially where this has gone on for a long time
  • Does not consider the needs of the carer or family members
  • Treats the carer with a lack of respect of courtesy
  • Rejects help and support from outside; including breaks
  • Refuses to be left alone at any time
  • Has control over financial resources, property and living arrangements
  • Engages in abusive, aggressive or frightening behaviours
  • Has a history of substance misuse, usual or offensive behaviours
  • Does not understand how what they do has an impact on their carer
  • Is angry about their situation and seeks to punish others for it
  • Has sought help or support but did not meet thresholds for this

Such risk factors tend to be greater where the carer lives with a person with dementia or is a partner or close relative.

If you are a carer and are at risk of harm from the person you care for, speak to a person you trust, for example, your friends, family, GP, nurse or social worker.


If you require more information, we recommend you have a look at the Warwickshire County Council’s website, or for further support and guidance get in contact with Guideposts to see how they can help you.

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