First Aid/Abuse & Neglect

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Don't do this!
Never confront any suspected abusers.
Never judge whether or not a complaint is true or not. Always treat any complaint in a serious manner.

Abuse: is when a person's well-being is deliberately and intentionally threatened. In some jurisdictions, if you are a health care provider then you may be obligated to report abuse or neglect that you observe. In particular, if you are in any position of authority in relation to a child, you are likely required by law to report child abuse.

If you are not under a professional duty of care, it is strongly recommended that you report any instances of suspected abuse. Stick to reporting the facts, and let the authorities determine the truth of any suspicion. Never confront the potential abuser yourself - consider your own safety.

The most vulnerable groups are the young and elderly, but be aware of the potential for abuse in all people (such as abuse of a spouse of either gender).

Physical abuse
abuse involving contact intended to cause pain, injury, or other physical suffering or harm.
Emotional abuse
a long-term situation in which one person uses his or her power or influence to adversely affect the mental well-being of another. Emotional abuse can appear in a variety of forms, including rejection, isolation, exploitation, and terror.
Sexual abuse
is defined by the forcing of undesired sexual acts by one person to another.
a category of maltreatment, when there is a failure to provide for the proper physical care needs of a dependent.

Some forms of abuse may be more obvious such as physical abuse but the rest may be concealed depending on the victim. If you notice any whip marks, burns, bruises with an unexplained origin, slap marks, bite marks, etc., you may suspect abuse.

If the person's life is in immediate danger then you should contact emergency medical services. As a first aider you are in a good position to do this without suspicion - if questioned you should state that you believe the victim requires further treatment. If possible, you should request police assistance, although not if you are in the presence of the suspected abuser. To help with this, some ambulances operate a safeword system (usually for their crews) which can be entered in to the call to flag an abuse query. These are not widely published (to protect their usage), but if you work for a recognized organization, they may be willing to share this word with you or your group.

If the person's safety is not in immediate danger, you should contact your local government department which deals with accusations of abuse, which may vary within locations by the demographics of the person being abused (child, elder, learning difficulties etc.). If in doubt, contact your local police, who should be able to signpost you to the most appropriate service.

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